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A smartphone is sponsoring the 2018 FIFA World Cup 

June 9, 2017

Digital Reporter

Cover art Erka Capili Inciong

In a sports tournament, athletes are often seen wearing gear printed with the name of their sponsors if not wearing the sponsors’ actual products. But this partnership is different—it goes digital.

Aside from the players rushing, kicking a black and white spherical ball to each sides of the green football field, football fans also see different logos of companies flashing during every matches of the league. In the next two instalments of the tournament, football enthusiasts are going to see a new logo after Chinese technology company Vivo signed an agreement with FIFA to sponsor the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Football is considered to be among the most popular sports in the world. The FIFA World Cup, an international football competition organized by the sport’s global governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is also among the most awaited quadrennial sports events in the world. According to a report by FIFA and Kantar Media, the final match between the teams from Germany and Argentina during its last installation in 2014 held in Brazil drew more than one billion fans around the world.

Vivo, as reported by Financial Times, will pay up to €70 million yearly until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar under the €400‑million agreement. With the deal, Vivo becomes FIFA’s 12th sponsor for World Cup 2018 and the third big Chinese firm to fund the tournament after multinational conglomerate Wanda and electronics manufacturer Hisense.

In a press release, Vivo said aside from the constant appearance of the company’s logo on field advertising boards, event tickets, press release backdrops, and other key promotional areas, the company will also come up with a customized FIFA World Cup phone.

FIFA will also invite guests to become Vivo phone photographers during pre‑match player warm‑ups while FIFA staff will use Vivo smart phones on‑site starting on the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 that will open on June 17.

In the press release, Vivo’s senior vice president Ni Xudong said the company aims to “associate itself with the football spirit and show consumers all over the world Vivo’s creative, joyful, and international brand image.”

Meanwhile, Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s secretary general, said, “Football and technology are coming closer by the day, on and off the pitch, and it is a great moment to start a partnership of this nature with the leading global smartphone brand.”

It is not the first time that Vivo will use sports as a marketing tool. The company has been utilizing sports marketing to promote its products since it expanded into markets in different regions worldwide. In 2015, the company sponsored the Indian Premiere League, a professional cricket league in India. Vivo also tapped famous NBA player Stephen Curry to be the product ambassador for its flagship Xplay6 under the company’s partnership with NBA China last year.