Canada 2015 Sponsor Roster: Half Empty or Half Full?

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Victor Montagliani (Bob Mackin)
(WFI) FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 marked the 100-day countdown to the tournament Feb. 26, but made no new sponsorship announcements.

Only three of the six national supporter slots have been filled, but the national organizing committee chair said more are on the way.

“There are still opportunities, they’re just different opportunities,” Victor Montagliani told reporters after a Vancouver International Airport event. “If you’re a sponsor two years out is different from being a sponsor 60 days out. The opportunities are still there, they’re just a different set of opportunities.”

The Feb. 17 announcement of the Canadian division of Japanese security software maker Trend Micro was the first since Labatt Breweries joined in November 2013. Labatt is the Canadian division of brewing giant and longtime FIFA sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev. Telecommunications sponsor Bell is also parent of broadcast rights holders CTV and TSN.

By comparison, Germany 2011 had railway (Deutsche Bahn AG), insurance (Allianz), banking (Commerzbank), postal/courier (Deutsche Post), telecommunications (Deutsche Telekom) and supermarket (REWE) sponsors. It sold out of national sponsorship slots in March 2010, more than a year before the tournament.

Montagliani, who is also president of the Canadian Soccer Association, said the Canada 2015 revenue target for national sponsorship was between $12 million and $20 million, but conceded “we’re closer to the 12 than we are to the 20.”

Montagliani said more sponsorship announcements are on the way in the next 30 days.

“We’re well in control of our overall budget and well on the road to hitting all our targets,” he said. “Whether we miss a target on a line item and overshoot on another, that’s part of doing business.”

Canada 2015 marks the 100-day countdown to the FIFA Women's World Cup (Bob Mackin)
The 24-nation tournament opens June 6 in Edmonton and ends July 5 in Vancouver. Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton are the other host cities. Single-game tickets went on sale Feb. 26. Montagliani said 1,000 tickets remained to the final.

Canada 2015 is also competing for sponsors with the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games amid the backdrop of ongoing international media attention to FIFA scandals. Sony, Emirates, Castrol, Continental and Johnson and Johnson didn’t renew their global deals with FIFA after the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Montagliani said the CSA has not decided whether to vote for re-election of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

“Until we get something from FIFA that says here are the candidates, then we’ll make the decision accordingly when we get to Zurich on may the 29th,” Montagliani said. “Like any re-election, we’ll sit down with the candidates, including the current president, sit down and talk to him about what his vision is for the next four years and talk with him what any issues are and we’ll make our decision accordingly.”

Meanwhile, the taxpayer-owned company that operates Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium advertised Feb. 25 seeking a supplier and installer of a new synthetic turf field. The Polytan Ligaturf field installed for the stadium’s 2011 renovation will be removed and replaced with a new artificial pitch between May 17-28. The tender document said the new surface must meet both FIFA 2-Star and World Rugby Regulation 22 standards. March 16 is the bid deadline. B.C. Place will also host the Canada Sevens rugby tournament in March 2016. It is not clear how much the new field will cost or how it will be funded. Montagliani wouldn’t comment on the cost, how much the CSA would contribute or whether any public money would be involved.

“Sometimes you have to get things done, you can’t worry about the process,” he said. “I’m glad everybody’s on board with that.”

Lawyers for several international players, including U.S. captain Abby Wambach, unsuccessfully complained to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against the Ottawa-based CSA as part of a campaign for temporary grass fields to be installed in the tournament’s six stadiums. Wambach’s group had asked for installation of new, best-available artificial pitches if the CSA was unwilling to go for grass.

By INSIDER contributor Bob Mackin 

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