FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has announced a sponsorship deal with US-based relaxation and meditation app Calm ahead of the upcoming men’s World Cup in Qatar.
The deal sees Calm become the official mindfulness and meditation product of the men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and every player, coach, member of staff, and volunteer will be offered a free subscription to the app.
It also covers the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the 2023 FIFAe Nations Cup esports tournament. Calm will be offered to fans at a 50% discount ahead of all three events.
As part of the agreement, Calm and FIFA will also co-produce mindfulness content through webinars and online sessions distributed on the app. Any player within the game who has struggled with mental health is invited to contribute.
Fergal Walker, Calm’s vice president of partnerships, said: “We’re proud to team up with FIFA, bringing mental wellness tools to the global football community.
“This is just the beginning of our work together, and we’re excited for what’s to come as we integrate mental health into football, for players, for staff, and of course for the fans.”
Andrew Massey, FIFA’s director of medical, added: “As a sporting community, we need to create an environment that better supports mental wellbeing and mental health.
“The well-being of footballers at all levels of the game has always been and will always be the top priority of FIFA, as can be seen with this collaboration.”
The sponsorship package not only sits in both the current commercial rights cycle (2019-22) and the next cycle (2023-26) but also covers all three verticals of FIFA’s revamped commercial rights program announced last year.
In December, the governing body said it would unbundle its commercial rights and create dedicated sponsorship programs for its women’s and esports events and competitions after the 2019-22 cycle, with changes coming into effect before the cycles start for the 2023 women’s World Cup and 2026 men’s World Cup.
FIFA said the revamp has been put in place to give brands more flexibility and options when it comes to partnering with the governing body, with prospective partners able to choose which of the three verticals they would like to select – men’s events, women’s events, and esports events.
The current model, which was put in place in 2013, gives six to eight official ‘FIFA Partners’ sponsorship rights to every FIFA competition, including men’s, women’s, and esports.
Last month, FIFA announced a wide-ranging multi-year commercial deal with Globant, which saw the digital consultant and software firm become the global platform supporter of the FIFA+ streaming platform that launched in April, a regional supporter of the 2022 World Cup in North America and Europe, and a sponsor of the women’s 2023 World Cup.
The deal also covered global sponsorship rights to the FIFAe Series in 2023,2024, and 2025, as well as tournament supporter rights to four upcoming FIFA youth tournaments.
The governing body also entered into a multi-year partnership with online gaming platform Roblox in an attempt to engage a younger fanbase ahead of the Qatar World Cup. The partnership saw the launch of FIFA World on Roblox, described as “a virtual environment that celebrates the power of football and the rich history of its pinnacle events.”