Football’s world governing body Fifa has yet to secure a single sponsorship deal for its inaugural World Club Championship, which is less than three weeks away.
A spokesman for ISL Worldwide, the company responsible for selling the eight &£600,000 sponsorship packages, says negotiations are continuing but as yet no deals have been signed. The total package is worth nearly &£5m.
The BBC has bought the UK broadcasting rights to the event. Manchester United’s first three games will be shown live on BBC1. All other matches will be broadcast on BBC Choice.
The competition has sparked controversy in the UK following United’s decision to take part in the tournament in Brazil instead of defending the Axa FA Cup.
The sponsorship crisis comes in the wake of ISL Worldwide managing director Daniel Beauvois’ admission that his company will lose money on the first year of its $1.2bn (&£750m) global relaunch of the ATP men’s tennis championships.
The company was originally working with IPG-owned sponsorship group Octagon on the relaunch. But Octagon pulled out when the price went above $1bn (&£625m).
Since April, ISL has been seeking a “presenting” sponsor prepared to pay $8m (&£5m) for each of the nine rebranded Tennis Masters series. Four second-tier supplier sponsors will pay $4m (&£2.5m) each.
So far ISL has managed to attract only one second-tier sponsor: sportswear company Fila. Lanson Champagne and Waterford Crystal have signed minor supplier contracts. Mercedes-Benz has an existing agreement to be the series headline sponsor.
Industry insiders claim ISL could lose $30m (&£18.75m) to $50m (&£31m) in the first year alone.
News Analysis, page 18