FIFA turns to China again for sponsorship, with Hisense deal

Getty Images

LONDON (AP) Consumer electronics firm Hisense has become the latest Chinese sponsor of the World Cup as FIFA races to fill commercial slots following a corruption scandal.

The 15-month deal announced Thursday by Hisense’s British division is unusually short for a FIFA, with the company only signing up as the official television sponsor of Confederations Cup later this year and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hisense, which also sponsored the European Championship in France last year, did not disclose financial details.

“Over the years, Hisense has gained a lot of experience and seen strong brand growth through sports sponsorships,” Hisense Group president Liu Hongxin was quoted as saying in a FIFA release.

“We are honored to take on our biggest challenge yet … and we believe that the competition will vastly improve global awareness and economic value for Hisense as a truly international brand.”

Five major sponsors failed to renew with FIFA after the 2014 World Cup, including top-tier electronics backer Sony.

It’s been more than a year since FIFA landed a global sponsor of its flagship World Cup. In March 2016, Chinese property and cinema giant Wanda Group signed a four-tournament deal through 2030.

The last deal announced before then came in 2013 when Russian energy giant Gazprom signed up for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

The shortfall of sponsors contributed to a $122 million loss in 2015, the last annual accounts published by FIFA.