Red card: Beats headphones banned from World Cup



Apple’s new headphone company has been spewing its love for the World Cup all over the internet with huge cinematic ads and exclusive Jay Z tracks, but there’s one place you won’t see a pair of Beats headphones – inside the actual stadiums.

FIFA has banned Beats headphones from the football pitch and official media events thanks to a licensing agreement with rival Sony.

Footballs biggest stars like Rooney, Suarez and Neymar Jr have been seen rocking Beats’ bulky plastic cans during their downtime, but Sony sent all players participating in the World Cup a pair of their own Sony headphones that can be used during official matches.

Beats has been known for its guerrilla marketing tactics by using celebrity endorsements and music video appearance to cut down on marketing cost over traditional ads while maximizing exposure. LeBron James, Will.i.AM, Kendrick Lamar, and even Lady Gaga have reped the headphones before Apple came in with its $3 billion bag of cash.

Marketing experts in Reuter’s report say the Beats ban will probably only amplify their appeal when athletes are spotted using them by choice in their downtime. To outsmart the official headphone sponsor of the 2012 Olympics in London, Beats sent thousands of free headphones to top athletes. Maybe Jimmy and Dre can sneak one past the goalie again in São Paulo.

  • dcj001


  • CelestialTerrestrial

    I wonder if Apple’s upper management approves of giving away free product? They don’t normally give away free products, they usually just loan them out. Who looks at athletes for advice on what audio products to buy? Er, um, I mean, wear?

  • bigmooch33

    This is similar to the Samsung US Olympic team ‘scandal’. I understand the commitment to using sponsors’ products, however athletes should have the freedom to use whichever devices they please. Seriously FIFA…

    • sigzero

      Professional athletes are employees and tow the line of the company they represent.

  • Maxwell S. Overholt

    People make the same arguments about beats as they do for apple, “it’s just branding”, “it’s just their looks”, “the hardware is the same (/sucks)” and “they’re overpriced status symbols”.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      Your comment isn’t really relevant to the article. It’s about a how products are marketed in sports.

      • Maxwell S. Overholt

        My comment wasn’t just about this article in particular (not that you care; you just wanted to look smart, which backfired). In several articles and the podcast they have taken shot at beats. I was talking about that not the major theme of this article (which btw is about how this particular incident will effect beats not about marketing in sports).

  • Grunt_at_the_Point

    What’s the big deal…This exclusivity happens in all sports from the NFL Super Bowl to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Noting out of the ordinary here.