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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
It's not only the British who haven't been behaving well abroad; pictured here are German fans celebrating their team's latest victory  

Holiday snaps that bite back: What happens in Shagaluf no longer stays in Shagaluf

Ellen E Jones
Simon Laird (left) and Sister Simon Laird, featured in the BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets  

Estates of the nation: Let's hear it for the man in the street

Simmy Richman
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?