ZURICH/KAZAN: FIFA has come up with another way to generate money out of its life-giving World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The World Cup is the only FIFA cometiton which turns a surplus, all the others run at a loss as do the expensive development programmes. Hence the perpetual concern in Zurich to leave no financial stone unturned.

The latest financial refinement emerged today in the shape of regional sponsorship packages for both the 2018 and 2022 finals.

The World Cup sponsor shape of things to come / FIFA.com

Marketing director Thierry Weil, seeking to justify a strategy which presents an open goal to the world federation’s critics, said: “Without our sponsors, events such as the FIFA World Cup would simply not be possible.

“Our sponsors offer not only financial support to the events but logistical support on the ground – in the form of transportation, for example. Sponsors also play a huge role in connecting our events to fans all over the world, running promotions and giving people the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience events.”

FIFA’s current sponsorship model, which was implemented in 2007 and covered the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup, consists of three tiers of commercial affiliates: FIFA partners, FIFA World Cup sponsors then national supporters.

Weil said: “The current commercial structure has proven to be very successful for the last two editions of the FIFA World Cup, with no packages left unsold. However, we felt it was time for a change.”

Within the new structure the top two tiers will remain mostly unchanged, involving 14 companies. However, the third tier has been transformed from national supporters to regional supporters.

This tier can amount to a total of 20 brands from the five pre-defined regions of North America, South America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia.

An obvious reason for the expansion of the category is in 2022 so that companies from other Middle East nations can come on board for Qatar where the domestic commercial base may be restricted.

However it also opens up possibilities in all FIFA’s geographical zones.

Weil said: “A company who is interested in the region of South America can now acquire the corresponding rights without having to purchase a global package. The value proposition is much stronger.”

Already signed up in the top categories are Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia, Gazprom and Anheuser-Busch InBev.