Sony’s World Cup sponsorship bars players from wearing Beats in stadiums

By , Jun 18, 2014

Beats World Cup ad (Neymar 002)

Watching this epic Beats ad featuring several high-profile football stars, you would’ve thought that Apple’s newly-acquired headphone line was going to be a staple at this year’s World Cup, but that hasn’t been the case at all. The iconic accessory has been noticeably absent from players’ necks since the tournament began last week.

And apparently Sony is behind the anomaly. The company’s licensing agreement with FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, says that players can’t ‘advertise’ rival hardware at games or media events…

Reuters reports:

Neymar likes them Brazil-green. England’s Wayne Rooney, white. Luis Suarez, blue. […] But soccer world governing body FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take them off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events.

But according to former Apple executive and strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, the ban may actually be helping Beats’ cause. “When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip a sponsored beverage. Maybe more, actually – Beats isn’t a sponsor, so the message is more authentic and credible.”

Beats, which was acquired by Apple last month for $3 billion, is known for using so-called ‘gorilla marketing’ tactics to skirt licensing agreements. In 2012, the company sent out thousands of free headphones to high profile athletes at the Olympic Games in London, irking sponsor Panasonic.

To learn more about the Apple-Beats deal, click here. And to find out how to catch all of the World Cup action on your iOS device, click here.

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  • Mat

    :(

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    …players can’t ‘advertise’ rival hardware at games or media events

    Since when did wearing headphones to listen to entertainment equal endorsing and advertising said headphones? The players should be fine to wear their headphones of choice as long as they aren’t endorsing them. It’s silly to suggest that just because the players are wearing Beats headphones consumers are going to go out an buy a pair as opposed to say I don’t know world cup sponsors Sony. At the end of the day consumers will buy the headphones that are right for them and not headphones dictated by that of a professional footballer.

    /rant

    • Kash Gummaraju

      Actually although many of us don’t want to believe it, that kind of unintentional advertising will influence potential buyers in many places.

    • Agru

      If you buy beats you just want to look cool, so if a football player uses them, the next day a lot of “swaggy teens” are going to buy them too.
      If you know what you are doing, you can’t buy beats, everyone knows they can be good, but not 400$-good for sure.

  • jack

    I’d have done the same… I’m paying millions to Fifa to advertise my stuff and Fifa’s players show up with rival hardware on TV being watched by billions?

  • JomanJi

    Sorry to be such a grammar nazi, but what do you do when you bar someone? (title, bar -> ban)

    • nonchalont

      Bar means the same as ban in the title context. Bar means to withhold as well. Not just a place to buy drinks. :)

      • JomanJi

        Oh, thanks for clarifying :)

    • M_thoroughbred

      It’s being used correctly. The title is fine.

    • Chris

      So what we all know what he is on about

    • Smh

      You need to increase your vocabulary.

      • JomanJi

        You are most certainly correct; and even though English isn’t my mother tongue, I would benefit from increasing my rather limited English vocabulary

  • @dongiuj

    Is this a similar rumor that iDB said about Samsung at the Winter Olympics?

  • Hyr3m

    With the kind of money they earn they could at least buy a pair of average or good headphones instead of them crappy low-fi beats headphones…

    • mav3rick

      These are not for quality but for show off. See the way almost all people are pictured wearing them, around neck like a dog collar. They should be told headphones work best over the head covering their ears…

      • Hyr3m

        I agree but they’re football stars so they don’t really need cheap headphones to show off… Also, to properly show off using headphone, beats is not the way to go unless you want to seem like an ignorant wannabe (I see these every day)…

  • Xee

    Where is my free set?

  • Saria Hajjar

    “Bars” or “Bans” (in the title)?

    • Biken Dangol

      Bars work perfectly fine with the title.

  • Chindavon

    Funny. It’s just like those Celebs that advertise Samsung phones, then make tweets “Sent from my iPhone.”

  • Viren Tandel

    Then FIFA should ban players from wearing Nike shoes, considering Adidas is a major sponsor of the World Cup.

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