Sony was a huge sponsor for the FIFA World Cup championship for 10 years. In fact, that sponsorship helped to get the PlayStation name out there and promote the console.
But as the championship has grown, it has started charging its sponsors more for the visibility, and Sony balked. Just over a year ago, it announced that it would end its longstanding partnership with the Cup because it could not afford the $277 million it would cost to be a sponsor.
Coincidentally — or maybe not — the decision to pull out of the Cup also came amid accusations of corruption against the soccer officials. The claims centered around plans for the 2018 Russia and 2022 Qatar World Cup games — specifically that Russia gave FIFA officials exorbitant gifts in order to gain favor and Qatar used slave labor to build its venue. Though FIFA officials cleared the countries of any wrong doing, others criticized those reports and said that the soccer organization had not done enough in its investigation.
Other companies that have dropped their sponsorships since the corruption allegations surface include Johnson and Johnson, Continental, Emirates Airlines and Castrol.
Sony has not said that it will reconsider its sponsorship or even become a lower-tier sponsor. None of the former sponsors has spoken out publicly about the corruption allegations.
FIFA has shrugged off the departures, saying that such turnover is common in sports sponsorships. It hoped to replace its top sponsors with Samsung and Qatar Airways, but neither has been confirmed.
For the 2018 World Cup in Russia, officials are expecting to make at least $5 billion in broadcasting deals. It will also open up opportunities to more sponsors so that it doesn’t have to rely on a smaller number of huge sponsors.
More sponsors could let their contracts lapse if the pricing structure and corruption allegations are not worked out, as well.