There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Vivo, a China-focused smartphone company that is similar to Xiaomi or Oppo. But unlike those other two companies, chances are that, unless you live in China (or more recently, India), you’ve probably never encountered a Vivo device, or even seen the company’s name before.
While Vivo may not have that much of a presence in European or American markets, the company has been still been building up a serious following when it comes to overall sales — it’s currently the fifth most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world, according to IDC, when it comes to devices shipped. And Vivo isn’t stopping there, either. The company just announced that it has signed a six-year deal with FIFA to be the exclusive smartphone sponsor of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
That’s a big deal, given how popular the World Cup is. According to FIFA, the World Cup is the world’s most watched sporting event. The 2014 World Cup reached 3.2 billion viewers, with over 1 billion viewers tuning in to the broadcast of the finals. And Vivo’s deal means that its brand will be introduced to millions of new potential customers around the world through billboards, stadium advertisements, and other tie-in opportunities. The company is also planning to release a special edition World Cup phone closer to the event that will offer a “one of a kind experience for Vivo consumers and football fans.”
This isn’t Vivo’s first foray into sports sponsorship: the company recently became the Indian Premier League’s official sponsor (succeeding Pepsi), something that IDC cites as an important contributing factor in Vivo’s growth in India. And since the World Cup takes place on a far larger international stage, it’s entirely possible the company could see similar success on a bigger scale through the new FIFA partnership. In other words: if you haven’t heard of Vivo yet, chances are that between now and the 2018 World Cup, you definitely will.