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In an age where image can be everything and ad revenue can determine whether the lights stay on or not, Sony has decided to make a move that has a few people scratching their heads and others nodding in approval. For those who didn't know, the electronics giant has pulled their sponsorship from FIFA.
Several websites have been reporting on the matter, including the Telegraph, which is reporting that the $348 million deal that's been in place for Sony's sponsorship of FIFA since 2006, is coming to an end.
According to Gamespot, Sony is set to scale back on their television and mobile business in order to focus on re-growing the PlayStation brand. Apparently, Sony plans on doing so without the help or collaboration of FIFA.
It is interesting because FIFA is a pretty popular sport around the world (save for maybe North America) but it's not popular enough to retain the sponsorship of Sony.
Due to the renewed focus on the PlayStation brand, putting more money into the coffers of FIFA is no longer part of their agenda. Some sites cite the rising costs of sponsorships that have caused Sony to flee from the arms of FIFA, while others point to a slightly more nefarious element between the two organizations.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, Sony is following Emirate Airlines and backing out of FIFA due to "integrity, ethics and fair play" issues. Oh, boy doesn't that sound familiar? An article over on Gamespot goes a step further, hinting at bribery; they also note that Coca-Cola and Adidas have also stated concerns about FIFA's “ethics”. I wonder if this will be turned into a four-month long smear campaign by the media against those companies worried about the integrity of the organization?
Anyway, the bribery allegations that Gamespot pointed out were in regards to the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup bid. There have been whispers and chatter that the slow build of perceived corruption and ethical breaches are what led to Sony wanting to pull out. However, those are just whispers and chatter.
The FIFA games that EA publishes have never been more popular. It does make you wonder if Sony pulling sponsorship from FIFA will have any effect on the sales of the games on the PlayStation consoles? It's a big business and a popular business at that. Whether gamers complain about the quality of the titles or not, it's still a lot of money in the bank for those involved. It will be interesting to see how Sony comes out of this one in the long run.
Of course, it's not hard to see how Sony's mounting financial problems wouldn't be considered as a major reason why they would decide to scale back on their ad expenditures. Whether or not the FIFA allegations pan out remain to be seen. However, Sony definitely isn't the only one who seems to think that the idea of a major organization being embroiled in a situation of unethical practices reflects badly on their business.