The British public remains uncertain which companies sponsored the FIFA World Cup, according to a survey conducted by Echo Research, which also found that the month-long tournament reinforced the British public’s belief that sponsors are motivated less by concern for football, South Africa and its people or issues of health and well-being, than by hard-headed commercial goals such as getting their name or logo on television.

The 1,002 adults polled across Britain following the World Cup Final struggled to correctly identify eight World Cup sponsors (Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa, Adidas, Budweiser, Sony, Emirates, Hyundai) from a list of well-known brands. No sponsor was correctly identified by more than half of those polled, with recognition highest for Coca-Cola (48 percent) and McDonald’s (40 percent).


Even after the tournament, one in five (20 percent) of the adults polled incorrectly identified Nike as a World Cup sponsor.

Two sponsors actually saw recognition decline significantly between the opening ceremony and the Final: Coca-Cola (48 percent, down from 57 percent) and Adidas (25 percent, down from 29 percent). Only two sponsors, Emirates (up from 12 percent to 17 percent) and Hyundai (up from 10 percent to 15 percent) secured improvements from low pre-tournament levels.

According to Matt Painter, research director of Echo Research, the survey “shows how unconnected organizations are when they sponsor major events: they are getting visibility for their brand on television, but not working these big ticket items effectively in the media through both paid for and non-paid-for channels, nor are they engaging the public through social media discussions.  


“With so much 'noise' going on, companies have to work harder than this to ensure better bang for their bucks."

When asked to select reasons why a company would sponsor the World Cup, fewer than one in ten (9 percent, down from 13 percent pre-tournament) agreed it was “because they care about football and its supporters” and one in 20 (5 percent, down from 9 percent pre-tournament) "because they care about issues of health, fitness and well-being.”


Despite extensive on-the-ground sponsorship activities in South Africa, there was no significant change in the proportion agreeing that it was “because they care about South Africa and its people”.  By contrast, 85 percent of those polled agreed it was “to get their company name or logo on television”, up from 81 percent pre-tournament.