Continental has become the fifth company to join the six-to-eight-member club of FIFA World Cup Sponsors until 2010, continuing a partnership that started back in January 2003. The agreement was announced today (20 May 2008) by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Dr Alan Hippe, member of the Executive Board of Continental AG, at a symbolic signing ceremony held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. The sixth FIFA World Cup Sponsor slot is due to be announced soon.
The leading automobile supplier, an Official Partner at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, is thus continuing its exclusive global marketing rights in the product categories tyres and run-flat systems for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup™, both of which will be held in South Africa. In addition, Continental has an option to extend the contract until the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.
"It is great to be able to welcome Continental back into the FIFA World Cup Sponsor family. Continental has been an active supporter of the game of football for many years. It is a big advantage for all those involved in the event to have such prestigious global partners on board, underlining the confidence of leading blue-chip companies in the first African World Cup. We look forward to a close and fruitful relationship on our joint path towards the 2010 FIFA World Cup," said the FIFA President.
Continental has strong ties in South Africa, with a tyre production plant in the FIFA World Cup™ venue Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, where 1,600 employees produced 2.6 million tyres in 2007. "We are delighted about this agreement and in particular about the fact that another global company, Continental, has put its trust in South Africa's ability to organise the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will be helping us to build on the passion and excitement we feel at hosting the world's premier football tournament," commented Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 Local Organising Committee.
Continental is Germany's leading manufacturer of tyres for cars and trucks and a tier-1 automotive supplier. The company was founded in Hanover in 1871 and was the first German company to manufacture pneumatic tyres for bicycles. Continental has a long-standing relationship with football, including sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League from 1995 until 2000, the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and UEFA EURO 2008, as well as various sponsorships of club teams.
"After our very positive experience with the 2006 event, this high-level sponsorship of the most-watched international sporting event will enable us to continue to use football to reinforce the position of our premium tyre brand Continental as the top product in markets around the globe. Football and the tyre business go together perfectly, as technique, precision, passion and teamwork play an essential role in both fields," said Dr Hippe.
FIFA's commercial hierarchy comprises six FIFA Partners, six to eight FIFA World Cup Sponsors and six National Supporters. The six members of the FIFA Partners category are adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates Airline, Hyundai, Sony and Visa. Only three slots are left as second-tier FIFA World Cup Sponsors alongside Anheuser-Busch, Continental, McDonalds, MTN and Satyam. FNB and Telkom have claimed two of the six National Supporter slots and negotiations are currently underway to confirm the remaining four.