The 2022 FIFA World Cup is being held in Doha, Qatar. This is the first time that the tournament has been held in Middle East, and perhaps unsurprisingly it has already attracted controversy.
While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Qatar 2022 could play host to incredible football, it could also be a powder keg of socially-charged issues from start to finish.
The Drum reports that stakeholders aligning with this tournament – from governing bodies, sponsors and broadcasters to the players themselves – will need to have a proactive comms strategy coupled with an authentic commitment to drive positive change to ensure they stay on the right side of public sentiment.
Fans in 2022 are as socially conscious and vocal as ever.
A growing proportion of viewers expect sport to be a force for good, and they are not afraid to use the various platforms available to them to demand more from the teams and players they support. In this climate, brands can become quickly spooked by negative sentiment and talks of boycotts.
Globally, 86% of fans say they are interested in cause-related marketing – this has grown by 42% since 2020, according to MKTG’s audience study Decoding the Modern Fan
However, one of their most recent controversies has been over LGBTQ+ rights. In a report released by Human Rights Watch in May 2019, they accused Qatar of “arresting and charging people for consensual same-sex conduct” and “torturing people suspected of being gay or transgender.”
This has led many to wonder whether FIFA should reconsider hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar—and if so, how brands can support their athletes and fans during an event that will likely be dominated by this topic.
Qouting The Drum, "The best-prepared organizations will reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls."
What do you think will the fate of advertisers in Qatar World Cup 2022 be?