Just a few days after being nominated to a fifth term -- amid growing alleged illegal activities of kickbacks by FIFA officials from TV networks, and other marketing/media companies -- Blatter suddenly resigned.
An ABC News report on Tuesday said the FBI was investigating Blatter. In addition, big global sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, and McDonald's have voiced their concerns over FIFA legal issues. Visa, for one, in recent days had said it would “reassess our sponsorship.”
“The sponsors carry significant weight and their voices must have factored into the ultimate decision,” said Mary Scott, president of sports & brand experiences for United Entertainment Group, a sports/entertainment marketing agency, in speaking to Media Daily News.
FIFA -- International Federation of Association Football -- controls billions of dollars in marketing/media rights of the sport. For the World Cup in 2014, FIFA pulled in a massive $5.72 billion in sponsorship deals and media rights.
Other big FIFA global sponsors include Hyundai/KIA Motors and Gazprom, a Russian natural gas company, and Budweiser.
Last week, The Department of Justice named 14 people in an indictment in a massive bribery case, amounting to $150 million, for at least two decades. In return for paying bribes, TV networks, media, marketing and sponsorship rights were allegedly handed out.
“As part of FIFA reform moving forward, they should consider stronger involvement and representation from the sponsor base given their overall contributions to the sport and its future,” says Scott. “How smart it would be for all parties involved to take this as an opportunity to make significant reform together.”