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Saturday, November 26, 2022

FIFA blockchain deal marks first new US WCup sponsor since 2011

GENEVA ( Associated Press) – FIFA on Monday found a new US sponsor of the men’s World Cup in 11 years, signing a deal for this year’s tournament with blockchain technology provider Algorand in Qatar.

Football’s world body said the deal is also a “technical partnership” to help FIFA develop a digital asset strategy. This could help FIFA market non-fungible tokens (NFTs) related to football.

The value of World Cup sponsorship at the third tier regional level covering North American and European rights was not disclosed. FIFA aims to generate total revenue of $7 billion in its four-year commercial cycle ending in Qatar.

The deal was announced in Los Angeles where FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended a business conference.

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FIFA operations are turning to North America ahead of the expanded 2026 World Cup being hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. It should be a commercial boon with 48 teams competing instead of 32, playing a total of 80 games instead of 64.

Nevertheless, Algorand is the first new US-based sponsor for FIFA’s marquee World Cup since 2011. Johnson & Johnson signed on for the 2014 edition in Brazil, a key market.

Over the past decade FIFA has been implicated in a US federal investigation into corruption in international football and has struggled to link American brands to join long-term partners Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s and Budweiser.

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Until recent months, FIFA had signed almost all of its sponsors for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, with the host countries – Russia and Qatar, and firms from China.

FIFA has now targeted the tech sector and in March announced a 2022 tournament deal with Singapore-based Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency platform.

Algorand founder Silvio Micali said in a statement to FIFA that his company can help “change the way the world experiences sports.”

The deal also covers the 2023 Women’s World Cup being hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

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