Sony Compels FIFA to Ban Beats by Dre Headphones at 2014 World Cup

Dan CarsonTrending Lead WriterJune 19, 2014


If you didn’t have enough reasons to hate FIFA already, the international governing body of soccer has bowed to the demands of its corporate sponsors and banned players from wearing Beats By Dre headphones during the World Cup.

Esteban Israel of Reuters reports that multinational tech giant Sony—a main sponsor of the 2014 World Cup—has compelled FIFA to officially outlaw athletes from wearing Beats at stadiums or during public appearances throughout the tournament.

Israel writes that stars like Neymar, Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and the legion of Beats-wearing players in Brazil will have to leave their headphones in the hotel room.

Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Beats by Dre headphones on the ground prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

“FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take [their Beats] off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events,” Israel writes.

The ban sounds like a heavy blow to Beats and its interests at the World Cup. However, marketing experts suggest otherwise. Marketing strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, a former Apple and Google executive, explained to Reuters:

When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas [shoes] or sip a sponsored beverage. Maybe more, actually. Beats isn’t a sponsor [of the World Cup], so the message is more authentic and credible.

Indeed, what greater way to advertise for Beats than by branding it “forbidden”? Sony just gave one of its biggest competitors in the headphones market an outlaw edge. The only thing people love more than ridiculously expensive headphones are ridiculously expensive headphones banned by The Man.

Reuters’ report claims that Sony has sent the players a pair of new headphones to replace their Beats, though this suppressive measure comes far too late to stop Dr. Dre’s brainchild from taking over the World Cup.

Beats’ “The Game Before the Game” ad is already being hailed as one of the best advertisements to come out for the 2014 World Cup, destroying Nike and Adidas in the competition for most memorable commercials of the tournament. 

That’s how you penetrate an audience, Sony: appeal to the heart (and adrenal gland).

But keep on with the humbugging and toy outlawing. People love that. As for FIFA, keep licking those boots. You don’t want to miss a spot.


On the Twitters.