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The second sponsorship tier is only half full, with veteransMcDonalds(MCD)andBudweiser(BUD)being joined by two Chinese companies: smartphone maker Vivo and electronics manufacturer Hisense.
Teams from 32 countrieslearned Friday who they will play at the soccer showcase, but with just six months until kick off, FIFA is struggling to find companies that are willing to spend millions of dollars on ads and logo placement.
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FIFA is struggling to find sponsors for Russia 2018
FIFAs biggest challenge is finding more regional supporters for the third group.
FIFA lumps its sponsors into three groups: partners, World Cup sponsors and regional supporters.
Its proving difficult for FIFA to move beyond the corruption scandal, two years after it first burst into the open. A handful of former officials linked to FIFA still face graft charges in New York.
The only thing you can do is re-brand, Nally said of FIFA. They keep saying its changed, but has it? They need to rekindle confidence and theyre not going to do that with the FIFA name.
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The big deals are still there but its in decline, said Patrick Nally, a sports marketing consultant who previously worked with FIFA. The big corporate names are moving away and being replaced by political players.
Sponsors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia are proving hard to find.
Its not a financial disaster for the FIFA or the World Cup, but its clear the tinsel has gone off the Christmas tree, said Nally.
Newcomers are limited to Qatar Airways, state carrier of the 2022 World Cup host, and Russian state-controlled energy firmGazprom(GZPFY). Chinese property firm Wanda Group is another new top sponsor.
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Political controversies involving Russia, sanctioned in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election, havent helped.
Brands have been scared off by the 2015 corruption scandal that ensnared top FIFA officials, including former general secretary Joseph Sepp Blatter, analysts say.
There are 20 of these sponsorships for five regions. So far, only one company has signed up for 2018: Russias Alfa Bank.
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FIFA said it expects more businesses to be added next year, but declined to comment further.
Related: Dashed 2018 World Cup dreams are a big blow for U.S. soccer
The group has filled seven of eight partnership slots — the top tier — ahead of Russia 2018. Some Western stalwarts with long-standing FIFA relationships are still on board, includingCoca-Cola(KO),Visa(V)andAdidas(ADDYY).
Gone are Western brandsContinental(CTTAF), Castrol andJohnson & Johnson(JNJ), which all chose not to renew their contracts in 2015.
First published December 1, 2017: 12:56 PM ET