World Cup 2018: a dilemma for some sponsors?

The FIFA 2018 map.  Hmm, wonders Merpel, just how did Kaliningrad manage to get into Russia ...?
One would have to be fairly well insulated from the conventional and social media in order to have missed the recent news of the Russian Federation's current military occupation of the sovereign Ukrainian territory of the Crimean peninsula.  Readers of this weblog will doubtless have their feelings on the subject and they are probably strong ones, but this is not the best place to vent them.

This Kat just wants to raise one small issue related to the exploitation of intellectual property rights.

The Russian Federation is hosting the FIFA-administered football World Cup in 2018.  The World Cup is an event which is expensive to host, and it attracts a large volume of income in the form of, among other things, sponsorship by leading brands which seek, through the resultant ideally positive publicity, to recoup their expenditure and indeed make substantial profits through raising brand awareness, encouraging consumer loyalty and increasing the volume of sales of products manufactured or licensed by them.

Some sponsors have already committed themselves to sponsoring the World Cup in 2018, and in some cases beyond.  A tie-in with sportswear and leisurewear brand adidas is set to run till 2030, while a deal with brewers InBev (encompassing some 200 beer brands including Stella Artois, Brahma, Beck's, Corona, Budweiser and Leffe) is set to run till 2022. Russian energy giant Gazprom is also signed up to sponsor the 2018 event.

It is this Kat's fervent wish that, by the time the 2018 World Cup comes around, the current crisis will have been resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned, and that Ukrainians and Russians of all types and in all localities will be able to sleep sweetly at night and enjoy the football by day.  However, there is a substantial chance that this will not happen and this Kat wonders (i) whether long-term sponsors have protected themselves through a get-out clause if either the event or the location prove toxic for branding terms, and (ii) how popular non-Russian brands like adidas and the InBev beers will promote themselves and their image in a scenario in which, for example, some countries choose to boycott the event in its entirety or where public opinion against the host nation runs high.

Can any readers supply the missing information or offer some practical suggestions?
World Cup 2018: a dilemma for some sponsors? World Cup 2018: a dilemma for some sponsors? Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 04, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. There is all fine in Russia and Ukraine. There is no any "military occupation of the sovereign Ukrainian territory", that u see in TV. Information about occupation is the pure and simple dishonest propaganda and u should not listen it.
    Sorry for my terrible english.

    Mr. D, Russia

  2. It's overshadowing the winter paralympics quite nicely..

  3. I request removal of the comment above. I could argue that there is a threat to Ukrainian sovereignity and bring evidence, but this is not a place for that. Please do not bring propaganda war to this specialised venue, Mr. D, Russia.

  4. I thought Mr D's comment was worth posting, if only because it shows how each of us is limited in our perspective by the mass media to which we have access.

    It seems to me that, in conflicts of this nature, the social media are likely to reflect reality more closely than official and/or state-controlled media.

    I'm also curious to know whether Mr D has read George Orwell's 1984, a book which was both profound and sadly prophetic in so many respects ...

  5. Before reading the subsequent commentary I understood Mr. D's comment to be a wonderful satire.

    I'd have thought he might be too embarassed to include even an initial if he truly held the views he expressed.

    Dr. M, London

  6. The notion of anonymity in blog postings seems to be somewhat the rage, and the power grab unfolding in the Eastern Europe theater has its parallels to the unfolding of an invasion of privacy and grab of (intellectual) property in the US under the propaganda-rhetoric of "Trolls."

    While not directly comparable, each can easily be seen to be on the same slippery slope.

    ~ Publius

  7. Ruined parties are nothing new, e.g., the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympic games boycotts. With those past experiences I would be surprised if the sponsors (and especially the IOC) didn't have some sort of contingency plans.

    But do these obscene high-security extravaganzas have any relevance anymore? (Did they ever have? Athletes are expected to shut up and run and wave some silly flag, but leave the "message" to the sponsors. Mexico City was such a long time ago...)

    I feel ill just thinking of the recent displays in the UK, the PRC, Russia, South Africa, etc., or of the upcoming events in Brazil or Qatar.

  8. Well, I know that I will not watch the 2018 World Cup, and I will never again buy any brand that sponsored it. This includes the supreme sacrifice of forsaking some of InBev's products, yes.

  9. Well folks it seems that some businessmen think its bad business to support Russia's dictator-Putin. I think that with added grass roots support there are other companies that one can support than ones that support a dictator. Now imagine the budweiser logo under Nazi Germany's swastika, is that the kind of feeling these companies want their product to evoke?


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