Anheuser-Busch InBev and Delta Air Lines are signing on to sponsor this summer's Copa America Centenario, the biggest soccer tournament to take place in the U.S. in more than 20 years.
The deals, which were brokered by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), signals the renewed health of an event that almost collapsed under the weight of the sprawling U.S. Justice Department investigation into bribery and corruption in global soccer.
SUM, which is owned by Major League Soccer, and WME/IMG took over the tournament's marketing after prosecutors alleged that the original company handling media rights had paid more than $100 million in bribes to the Centenario's organizers.
"To have these companies stand with us, it sends a message to global football that we know how to put on a tournament that is fair and transparent," SUM President Kathy Carter said. "We're all linking arms and putting that message out there."
SUM and WME/IMG guaranteed tournament organizers a minimum of $20 million for the remaining TV and sponsorship rights, according to a person familiar with the deal, and anything additional will be split.
Carter said she expects to finalize more sponsorship deals before the tournament starts June 3. Existing sponsors include Nike, Coca-Cola, Sprint and State Farm.
The Copa America Centenario is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Copa America, a quadrennial international tournament. For this one tournament, the field was expanded to include more countries in North and Central America. The U.S., the region's biggest media market, was named as host in 2014. Games will be played in 10 venues across the U.S., with the final scheduled for June 26 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Fox Sports in January agreed to pay $15 million for the English-language rights to broadcast the event in the U.S. Univision will pay more than four times that for the Spanish-language rights. Anheuser-Busch has already committed to TV advertisements on Univision, Carter said.
-- Bloomberg News