The Financial Times has reported that a number of football governing bodies are exploring the potential of advertising/sponsoring ‘video assistant referee (VAR)’ match breaks.
World football governing body, FIFA, is reported to have been approached by advertising companies seeking to sponsor ‘VAR breaks’, during last summer’s Russia 2018 World Cup tournament.
The opportunity to advertise to football audiences during live and unscripted intermission will be valued as lucrative inventory by football stakeholders.
In its report, the FT details that FIFA views advertising on VAR breaks as an ‘untapped opportunity’, which could generate football leagues millions in extra revenues, adding additional advertising opportunities during live match broadcasts.
The sponsoring of ‘match breaks’ during refereeing decisions, has become a common practice in sports such as cricket, rugby and American football, where video refereeing has been in place for a number of years.
Nevertheless, VAR remains a controversial subject matter for football leagues who will be forced to implement the technology, as fans, players and management have detailed frustrations with regards to VAR decisions, its implementation during football matches, and time taken to review events.
VAR will be introduced to English football from the beginning of 2019/2020 season, with the English Premier League (EPL) enforcing the technology across its match days.
At present, EPL governance maintains that it is too early to commercialise VAR breaks, as its potential remains unknown.