Very eagle-eyed viewers at the Arsenal versus Manchester United match on Saturday might have noticed something different about striker Olivier Giroud's boots. Sony has sponsored the soles and studs in order to extol the benefit of owning an Ultra HD set.
It has also been revealed that the company is ending its long-standing sponsorship agreement with FIFA, citing corruption allegations as a reason not to continue with its paid branding of tournaments such as the World Cup. The last tournament in Brazil saw several key Sony and FIFA initiatives, including the recording of a few of the matches in 4K. Bringing things nicely around to Giroud.
He had the logo and words "4K" and "Sony 4K Ultra HD TV" emblazoned on the bottom of his boots, promoting the high resolution broadcast format with the suggestion that only those with 4K sets could see words that small. It follows a similar "microtising" push at this summer's Wimbledon, where British star Anne Keothavong had the logo written in small on her fingernails and shoelaces.
Of course, the Arsenal match wasn't broadcast in 4K, but you get the picture - if not literally.
The campaign will continue with Sony etching its branding onto blades of grass on a football pitch next.
As for the ending of the partnership with FIFA, we'll wait for an official statement before clarifying. If true, it will put further pressure on the organisation to get its house into order after the investigation into voting practices for the Russia and Qatar World Cups has been heavily criticised.
It is not thought Sony's sponsorship of the Champions League will be affected, as that is in partnership with UEFA instead.
In the case of its microtising, it's just as well the company didn't choose a Liverpool striker to sponsor instead though, otherwise only a physio or other staff member in the treatment room would see the branding.
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