Emirates airlines won't renew its sponsorship with FIFA, Sony could follow

Because checking your sense of shame at the door is essential to becoming a top FIFA exec, all manner of media revelations about the organization’s conduct haven’t effected fundamental change.

What would? Hitting them in the pocket. Carrying out the sacred duties of FIFA members – flying around the world, staying in luxury hotels and eating in the finest restaurants – is expensive.

News comes today that Emirates airline isn’t renewing its sponsorship, and Sony seems to be considering its position. That’s two of FIFA’s six most important corporate partners.

Companies re-evaluate their marketing commitments all the time. But several key sponsors issued carefully-worded, cautious statements earlier this year hinting that unless FIFA got its house in order they’d be considering their positions. But the brand isn’t (yet?) toxic enough for major corporations to begin deserting it en masse, or placing serious pressure on FIFA.

After all, we’re talking about the World Cup: a gigantic, global, patriotic money-maker that people in general are able to romanticize, enjoy, and mentally disassociate from FIFA itself.

FIFA said Emirates’ news was no surprise as it had told them more than two years ago about the “restructuring of its sponsorship concept.” Qatar Airways is reportedly ready to step in, which would make sense.

Sony and Emirates ought to be easy to replace: The planet hardly lacks for electronics companies or airlines. Though the sportswear giant adidas has expressed concerns about allegations of corruption surrounding the World Cup bidding process, a year ago it renewed its sponsorship until the 2030 tournament (which will be held on Mars).

Because what’s the alternative for adidas? Let Nike step in? Unthinkable. Same goes for Coca-Cola and Visa.