Samsung’s soccer swoop

Korean electronic giant scores sponsorship deal for forthcoming FIFA tournament.

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By  John Irish Published  February 19, 2003

Samsung last night (Feb 18) signed an agreement to become the official mobile phone sponsor for the FIFA Youth World Championship (FWYC) to be held between March 25 and April 16 in the UAE.

The deal is estimated to be worth around US $1 million and will give Samsung the rights to use the Championship logo as well as stadium advertising boards.

“Samsung is committed to the game of football across the world. In the UAE, Samsung has always taken a proactive role in supporting sporting events, and we hope that our endeavour to sponsor FIFA’s second biggest event will capture the imagination of the football-supporting public,” said D.K. Byeon, managing director, Samsung Gulf Electonics (SGE).

This latest venture into football sponsorship follows Samsung’s drive to associate its brand name with global sporting competitions. The company was a major sponsor for the Sydney Olympics in 2002 and has signed up for the 2004 Athens Olympiad.

The move to sponsor the FWYC will raise the stakes with its Korean rival, LG, which is actively committed to sports sponsorship, particularly in the Middle East.

“I don’t think we are copying them [LG]. It is for you [the media] to change your mind. There is nobody that is comparing LG and Samsung, because, as you can see in brand value, Samsung is already ranked at 34,” said Sung (Steve) Woo Han, Samsung’s telecommunication senior manager, speaking to Arabian Business.

“Samsung took the initiative in 1996 to join sponsorship programmes for world renowned sports events, for example the Asian Games and Olympics, whereas LG are only doing smaller activities like local championships.”

The electronics company recently enlarged its sponsorship portfolio of Middle East sports events with the recent Dubai Marathon and hopes that the FWYC deal will nurture its profile in the region and pave the way for future event sponsorships.

“Samsung has invested a lot of money in the sports market. By sponsoring this kind of event we are able to increase our links with our consumers and raise our brand awareness. We are already participating in a lot of events here. We participated in the Dubai Samsung Marathon and the Oman Fun Run and will definitely be participating in future events in this part of the world,” said Han.

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