Chinese Firms Become Largest World Cup Sponsors
Zhou Fang
/SOURCE : Yicai
Chinese Firms Become Largest World Cup Sponsors

(Yicai Global) June 11 -- China's soccer team was bumped from the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sept. 5 in Qatar, but Chinese companies are nonetheless the largest sponsors of this event, increasing in number to seven from only one four years ago, and now spread across three levels of support.

Companies around the world have invested CNY15.4 billion (USD2.4 billion) in advertising at the 2018 World Cup, per data by market research firm Zenith. Chinese companies rank first with USD835 million (CNY5.35 billion), twofold their US counterparts' USD400 million investment, and far higher than that of the host country Russia at USD64 million.

The World Cup has always been one of the greatest money-magnet sporting events. People willing to support the sponsor brands of the World Cup account for about 73 percent, and 60 percent believe brands sponsoring the World Cup are influential, while 55 percent are more willing to purchase products of event sponsors, per data by market survey firm Nielsen. This sports event is not only a carnival for global soccer fans, however, but also a battlefield for major brand owners.

This year's World Cup confronts a Calvary in attracting money because of the absence of several veteran teams and the 2015 FIFA corruption case which saw US authorities indicting several FederationInternationale de Football Association officials with bribe-taking. With less than a week left to run to the event's kickoff, 15 vacancies remain for sponsors. Only five seats for second-tier sponsorships have been sold, and only seven among the twenty regional sponsor's seats. Several traditional World Cup backers like Sony, Emirates Airlines, and Castrol have not signed contracts with FIFA this year.

Even as the passion of world-class brands for the World Cup palls, seven Chinese companies have made it onto the sponsor list. They include Dalian Wanda Group, Hisense Group, Mengniu Dairy, Vivo Communication Technology, Yadea Technology Group, Zhidianyijing Virtual Reality Technology and Diking China.

Wanda Group spent USD150 million in 2016 to become a first-tier FIFA sponsor, gaining all advertising and marketing rights to every FIFA event in the next four World Cups. Hisense Group, Mengniu Dairy and Vivo have become second-tier sponsors who make up 60 percent of the total number at this level.

China's soccer team may not have qualified for the playoffs, but some of its other players are bearing away the prize.

Editor: Ben Armour

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Keywords: WORLD CUP , FIFA , RUSSIA , WANDA GROUP , Hisense , China Mengniu Dairy Co. , Vivo