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June 5, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:23pm

10 FIFA World Cup team sponsors you’ve probably never heard of

From German goal-line technology to solar panels - it's all about to kick off in Brazil.

By Vinod

With just days to go before the World Cup kicks off in Rio, excitement is building for football fans all around the world. But with over half of the world’s population estimated to watch at least some of the tournament, the World Cup also offers a great opportunity for brands. Each team boasts its own selection of sponsors and partners alongside the competition’s official deals, but with so many nations on display, here are ten companies involved in this year’s event that you might not be familiar with…


If South Africa 2010 was anything to go by, then GmbH could have a vital role to play for England fans at this year’s World Cup. This (somewhat ironically) German company is providing its GoalControl system to all 12 stadiums as the official Goal Line Technology in Brazil, and will be hoping there will be no more "did it or didn’t it?" controversies.

GoalControl features 14 high-speed cameras located around the pitch, with seven cameras focusing on each goalmouth. The ball’s position is continuously and automatically captured in 3D and the indication of whether a goal has been scored is immediately confirmed within one second to a watch worn by each of the match officials. Let’s just hope they don’t need it…

Yingli Solar

One of the official sponsors of the World Cup, along with partnerships with Bayern Munich and the US national team, Yingli is the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer. The company says its 30m panels are operational in more than 40 countries around the world as it looks to provide "affordable green energy for all".


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Another official sponsor, Oi is the largest telecommunications telephone company in Brazil and the second largest in Latin America, boasting 22.2m land lines and 31.7m wireless customers. Ahead of the anticipated tourist influx, the company has launched a R$40 prepaid mobile kit, which includes access to over 600,000 Oi Wi-Fi hotspots and credit valid for up to 30 days.


Outdoor Channel Holdings

Making up another key part of the watching experience, Outdoor Channel Holdings supply the flexible ‘Skycam’ units which are suspended above the pitch in order to capture a ‘birds-eye view’ of the action. First used in American Football games in 1984, Skycam has grown in popularity and is now a central part of any television coverage.


Orkut is Brazil’s most popular social network, and the official social network of the World Cup. Owned and operated by Google, the site was originally hosted in California before being switched to Brazil in 2008 in order to deal with the influx of traffic from the country, which makes up nearly half of its visitors worldwide.


Mobile phone operator Movistar is an official sponsor and partner of the Spanish, Colombian and Mexican teams at the World Cup. Owned by Telefonica, the part company of O2, Movistar is the largest carrier in Spain, and also sponsors a motorbike and pro cycling team.


An official sponsor of the Algerian team, Ooredoo is one of North Africa’s fastest-growing telecoms companies. Formerly Qatar-based Qtel, the company has expanded across the Middle East and Africa, as well as into South East Asia. It boasts none other than Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador, and last month launched a television advert featuring him entitled "Simply Do Wonders".


Glo World

Backing Nigeria is telecoms company Glo World, the leading mobile service provider in the country, with further operations in Benin, Ghana, and Cote D’Ivoire. It recently completed an $800m submarine fibre optic cable between Nigeria and the UK, and boasts 10,000km of fibre across its markets.

The company recently took to its website to "make discipline the watchword" for the reigning African champions, urging them to take the upcoming friendly with Scotland seriously, "as the result would go a long way to bolster their confidence ahead of the World Cup."

"At this stage, we believe every tune-up game counts for confidence-building which the Eagles need when they take on the world," the company added, ahead of a 2-2 draw marred by accusations of match-fixing.

Daum Communications

Sponsoring the South Korean team is web portal Daum (meaning ‘Next’), which offers a variety of services to its users including email, maps, news and most importantly, instant messaging. Launched in 1995, the company was recently acquired by South Korea’s largest messaging service Kakao, following in the footsteps of other major deals for similar services around the world including Whatsapp’s $19bn sale to Facebook.

Daum is also famous for briefly owning dog-based dotcom-era search engine Lycos.


Finally, if you’re heading to Brazil and feel like you’re right at home in terms of the languages you hear, that could be down to official World Cup partner WiseUp. They provide English language teaching across Brazil, Latin America and the USA, and have recently signed partnership deals with several Chinese universities.


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