So FIFA has a new president. Much has been made of his home town being the same as his infamous predecessor Blatter, and critics have been quick to point out that the only reason he made it onto the campaign at all, was because his boss at UEFA has been banned from football for six years. Bet that’s awkward.
A cunning linguist (he dazzled the assembled voters with no less than four different languages), he made a significant statement on spreading the circa $5billion in revenues that FIFA generates back into football. I would hazard that it is this type of statement that resonates most with those in the global game and it remains to be seen if the promises will stick.
Now talk is turning to its sponsorship and revenue generation moving forward, ticketing being a particularly thorny issue (at the time of writing Match Hospitality’s owners were subject to the attention of the Swiss Attorney General). There are 27 out of the 34 sponsorship categories ahead of 2018 Russian WC as yet unsold, and its not easy finding new partners in football’s current economic and morally fragile state.
With the uncertainty surrounding FIFA’s future, there have been a few top commercial people in football who have been tapped up to form an agency model similar to that of the very successful UEFA and TEAM Marketing AG relationship. With the new president and his experience at UEFA with such a model it will be interesting to see if a TEAM v2 is formed or another agency appointed to handle some of the commercial rights.
I wonder how brave FIFA can be when it comes to their commercial and marketing plans? They look after the biggest global event in football after all, and now would be the time to restructure not just ethically but also commercially. Time to bring in some new inspirational leaders to their ranks and get the business of football back on track. There are some really interesting digital and content developments out there from virtual reality and enhanced in-stadia experience to carefully curated social content - now’s the time to do it.
Hands up who wants to work with FIFA? Form an orderly queue!