FIFA Corruption Case: How Will It Impact U.S. Networks, Marketers?
One of the world’s biggest sports marketing machines -- FIFA, the worldwide organizing body for global soccer sports play -- has been hit with a massive suit against its senior officials
on 47 counts that include charges of bribery, fraud and money laundering.The Department of Justice named 14 people in an indictment for allegedly
handing out $150 million in bribes for media, marketing and sponsorship rights to the games, in arrangements that went on for at least two decades. U.S. Attorney General Loretta
Lynch said indicted individuals decided "who would televise games,” among other rewards, reported the New York Times. FIFA officials who
allegedly participated in the bribery laundered the money through U.S.-based banks, and a number were arrested in Switzerland. No names of any U.S. TV networks allegedly involved have
been revealed.Don’t expect any of this to bring U.S. viewership down. But you have to wonder about the impact on
marketing dollars for the sport -- sponsorship and TV advertising -- as well as where future license fees for U.S.-based TV networks will head. U.S. networks that run soccer coverage include Fox Sports, NBC Sports Channel, Univision, Telemundo, and beIN Sports. Fox has the U.S. English-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World
Cups, paying a reported $425 million. Top FIFA officials who remain will no doubt talk about how corruption cannot be tolerated, as well as
praising U.S. legal activity. They will say the ongoing business of soccer will remain strong. But you have to figure there will be more to
come. Now we are all just waiting for another shoe to drop -- or foot, to kick someone in their marketing/media head.