Sponsors lining up to grasp VAR opportunity – report

Fifa has been approached by several companies wishing to sponsor the VAR breaks at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, according to a report in today’s Financial Times.

The report said Fifa has rejected the offers, as developing its VAR (video assistant referee) system is “a top priority at the moment”.

In an overview of the sponsorship and advertising potential of VAR, the report said European football’s governing body, Uefa, was not currently considering VAR sponsorship.

Spain’s LaLiga is thought to view VAR sponsorship as a possible opportunity, depending on the stance of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), which oversees refereeing in Spanish football.

The Premier League said it is too early to consider commercialising VAR, which comes into play in England’s top-flight league next season.

Tim Crow, an independent sports marketing adviser and regular columnist with SportBusiness Professional, told the FT that World Cup deals could be worth more than £50m ($65.2m/ €58.2m) for advertising rights during the VAR break and more than £100m when bundled as an event sponsorship.

“I think it is the biggest sponsorship asset that football has ever created,” said Crow. “Most other advertising is on the side, but VAR is in the middle of the game, part of the game. For a sponsor, that is a dream come true.”

Read this: Handle with flair: VAR and sponsorship

Writing in SportBusiness Professional in August last year, Crow said Fifa will have no problem in finding VAR sponsors for the 2019-2022 cycle, and neither will club competitions, where VAR is rapidly becoming mainstream.