McDonald’s to Sponsor Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup
The world’s largest fast food chain McDonald’s will sponsor the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, extending its deal beyond the 2018 tournament being hosted by Russia.
Young mascots who walk out onto the pitches with the players will be sponsored by the food giant, with other FIFA sponsors including Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Visa.
McDonald's, often criticised for encouraging unhealthy eating habits amongst people of all ages, sponsors huge numbers of sporting events including the Olympic Games despite its unhealthy image.
FIFA, organising body for Qatar 2022, has been under pressure from the above blue chip supporting companies to properly investigate allegations of bribery and corruption surrounding the tender process for the tournament.
Qatar’s bid has been criticised in many footballing circles not least because of the country’s lack of pedigree in the sport. The extreme heat has also drawn concern with the most likely solution being to move the competition to the winter, clashing with many domestic leagues around the world.
German sports brand Adidas has signed up as a FIFA sponsor until 2030, but publicly expressed its concerns over the current state of affairs at the organisation, still headed up by Sepp Blatter.
Adidas said: "The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners."
FIFA earned more than $1.4 billion last year.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”