In the Nikkei Asian Review, Sony made it clear that it does not plan to renew its contract with FIFA. The quoted reason in the article states that Sony is planning to use the money on continued structural reforms in the company, which is still struggling to find its identity in the brave new digital world. This ends a nearly decade old sponsorship that started in 2005 as the “Official Sponsor,” the most expensive and highly visible level of sponsorship for any athletic event. The current contract worth $277 million ends this year and covered more than 40 tournaments
The “Official Sponsor” of FIFA is spread across six different industries, with Sony representing the electronics and entertainment field. Samsung is rumored to be the successor for the Japan based electronics company. The other sponsors are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Emirates, and Visa.
The latest bout of corruption issues among others stemmed from the winning bid by Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022. The country itself has neither a strong soccer history nor a stadium that would be able to house the event. This and other circumstances surrounding the bid were investigated by Michael Garcia, an independent ethics adjudicator, who spoke to BBC News four hours after his report was filed, saying that it “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations.” When the investigator slams his own report, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.
The timing of the decision by Sony has raised questions whether the decision is purely to help Sony stay in the black. With FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, asking the Swiss Attorney General to investigate his organization for possible bribes, being seen as a sponsor for a corrupt governing body may not be the best PR for Sony.