Apple’s Beats headphones banned from World Cup

“Neymar likes them Brazil-green. England’s Wayne Rooney, white. Luis Suarez, blue,” Esteban Israel reports for Reuters. “Banned from the pitch by FIFA for licensing reasons, the bulky Beats headphones are a favorite for many of the world’s top players, making the World Cup a huge unofficial ad for the company acquired by Apple Inc last month.”

“The colourful high-end headphones created by rapper Dr Dre have become a ubiquitous soccer accessory. Neymar wore them as he stepped off the bus at the Castelao stadium of Fortaleza for Brazil’s last training season on the eve of their match with Mexico on Tuesday. Suarez had them wrapped around his neck as he joked with his Uruguay team mates during a break at a recent practice,” Israel reports. “But soccer world governing body FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take them off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events.”

“Marketing experts say that probably only amplifies their appeal,” Israel reports. “‘When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip a sponsored beverage,’ said strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, a former Apple and Google executive. ‘Maybe more, actually – Beats isn’t a sponsor, so the message is more authentic and credible.'”

Read more in the full article here.

72 Comments

    1. It’s called a “contract”. Sony signed a contract with FIFA that included the clause “thou shalt not wear non-Sony headphones while in World Cup stadiums.” The teams have contracts (essentially) with FIFA that allows FIFA to dictate behavior while representing the team. And the players have contracts with the team (or their own sponsors) that allow the teams (or sponsors) to dictate what they wear, what they say and what they do. It’s all voluntary – if you don’t like it, you’re perfectly free to not get paid thousands of dollars to kick a white-and-black ball around the field.

    2. Because Sony is paying $XX million dollars to sponsor the World Cup, Sony has the right to not allow non-Sony headphones, etc. in World Cup arenas. That’s one of the conditions of the contract. If FIFA didn’t agree to those terms, Sony either would not sponsor or would only agree to pay a much lower amount. Then FIFA couldn’t make its billions of tax-free dollars and line its board of directors pockets with as large of bribes.

      1. That’s why the world loves it as opposed to the English kids game that is baseball and the advertising spree with occasional 20 seconds of action that is American Football which after all is just a ruined one dimensional version of Rugby. Have you guys actually invented any games of your own, I mean we even invented ice hockey for you. That should do the trick.

      2. NFL – the most boring game ever. goes for 4 hrs. only has 8 minutes of actual play. not to mention compared to rugby, its a game for pussys with all that padding and helmets.

  1. I would slap a Beat logo on a pair of Sony head phones in a heart Beat. Then see what they say. Maybe if Sony gave them all a FREE pair to use at the game. Free phones worked real well for companies like RIMM. Get the hole world market with FREE head phones! Or, just make a product that everyone wants to use and own. I believe that is Apple’s old approach to customer sales.

    1. Bose might even be worse than Beats! I can’t judge as I haven’t tried Beats, but Bose are essentially overpriced crap.

      If you want good headphones, you buy AKG or Senheiser. Beyerdinamic, Sony, even Behringer are also good (in the middle price range).

      Beats and Bose are consumer-grade cans designed to sweeten the sound in order to appeal to your average audience. Studio-grade headphones from reputable makers are supposed to have near-flat frequency response, giving you the most objective reproduction of the sound, without colouring it.

    2. “Beats suck anyway. Not sure why you’d spend that much for shit when you can get a pair of Bose for the same price.”

      so ask yourself why is Beats more popular?
      is Bose marketing bad, people think they are ugly?

      So why isn’t Bose improving design and marketing to crush Beats? PERHAPS because design, marketing might be really freaking hard?

      (note I undertand PCs outsell Macs although inferior but they are mostly CHEAP units but you said Bose and Beats were ‘the same price’) So? If Beats MARKETING (i.e understanding the ‘pulse of the consumer’ and selling ) is awesome maybe that’s what Apple Bought i.e Marketing Talent to the new generation rather than technology?

      If Apple can use Beat’s marketing talent to increase Apple product sales by say 5% that would be Billions of bucks.

        1. Sound, music, hearing are all personal and as such are impermeable traits and subject to confirmation bias. Your reasoning is no match for instinctive shielding.

    3. “Not sure why you’d spend that much for shit when you can get a pair of Bose for the same price”

      You forgot the /sarcasm tag and people are taking you seriously!

  2. @Zach I personally own two pair of Studio headphones and I believe they’re great. But then again, tons of people own iPhones too…. Doesn’t make “us” wrong either considering that there is an alternative…. I’m glad Apple bought “Beats”. Smart move IMHO…

  3. Dealing with FIFA is like dealing with the mob. You play by their rules or you don’t play. FIFA exempts itself from all local or national taxes. And if they tell the players they can’t wear certain shoes or listen to certain headphones, well, that’s how it is.

    Sports these days is simply a device for selling products and making money.

  4. Personally, I’d print off a Sony logo and stick it over the Beats logo with temporary glue.
    Not sure if your average Wendyball player is smart enough to work out how to do that, mind…

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