Tim Rich: For Coca-Cola the real thing is the prestige of being involved

Share
Related Topics

The 2006 World Cup was won by Coca-Cola. Of the 15 corporations that had paid tens of millions to be associated with the tournament, its name had been the most recognised. The key, said its jubilant head of sponsorship, Steve Cumming, was Coca-Cola's relationship with Wayne Rooney. "You do not get to the front pages of the tabloids easily," he said. "But we got there time and time again by combining two key elements; the World Cup trophy and Wayne Rooney."

This year, Coca-Cola publicly terminated its association with the Manchester United striker. In the wake of the bribery scandal that has coursed through Fifa like an open sewer, the company issued a statement that the allegations were "distressing".

Coca-Cola dumped Rooney; might it also dump the World Cup? No chance. There are other footballers than Rooney. There is only one World Cup and Coca-Cola has been paying to be part of it since 1970.

In the four years leading up to the 2010 tournament in South Africa, Coca-Cola and Fifa's five other "partners" – Adidas, Emirates, Hyundai, Sony and Visa - each paid between $24m–$44m annually to be part of the event. These figures give them the illusion of influence. The World Cup is the only thing that Fifa does that makes money. It has only three revenue streams: the sale of media rights, sponsorship and hospitality. Ticket sales go to the organising country.

These are not so much streams as waterfalls the size of Niagara, with profits for the 2010 tournament estimated to been $2bn. Fifa would cope with Coca-Cola's withdrawal with a single phone call to Purchase, New York, the headquarters of Pepsi, whose products were confiscated if they were taken into World Cup stadiims in South Africa.

When Visa paid $200m to become the World Cup's official credit card, it supplanted Mastercard, which sued. Sepp Blatter will comfortably survive this sabre-rattling by some unlikely knights, who have nowhere else to go. Coca-Cola is not paying $3m a month to be part of the squalid circus in Zurich but to be associated with the 2014 World Cup, where there will be a new Fifa president. It will be staged in Brazil, football's spiritual home, with cumulative viewing figures around the 26 billion of 2006.The television stations that have paid Fifa millions for the rights will broadcast from Copacabana beach, where beautiful young bodies will be kicking Adidas footballs, talking on Sony mobiles and drinking Coke.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Scottish referendum results: A change is gonna come – it’s GOT to come

James Bloodworth
The Prime Minister David Cameron speaks outside Downing Street after the result of the Scottish Referendum  

Scottish referendum results: And now for the West Lothian question – but resolving it won’t be easy

Rosie Millard
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week