TORONTO – Beats headphones are a favourite accessory of many World Cup stars – England’s Wayne Rooney, Netherland’s Robin van Persie, and Brazil’s Neymar have all been pictured wearing them.
But FIFA has banned athletes from wearing the colourful headphones in World Cup venues due or during media events to sponsorship issues.
Beats is not an official World Cup sponsor – but competitor Sony is, forcing FIFA to issue the ban.
According to a report from Reuters, Sony gave every World Cup player a pair of headphones to wear during the tournament, but few athletes have been seen wearing them.
Beats, which was bought by tech giant Apple for US$3 billion last month, has gained a huge following from athletes – from basketball stars like Kobe Bryant, to football star Robert Griffin.
And its World Cup presence has been strong, despite not being an official sponsor.
The company released a five-minute video ahead of the World Cup called “The Game Before The Game,” showing players like Neymar, Van Persie and Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez preparing for games with the headphones.
“Before the goals, before the glory, there is an unseen game played in the locker room. Watch how the best prepare for greatness with Beats SOLO2 and Studio. This is how the game is won,” reads a description of the video on YouTube.
Beats is also selling Brazil-themed Beats Studio headphones in celebration of the World Cup.
This isn’t the first time Beats has created controversy at a sporting event.
During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the company was accused of “guerrilla marketing tactics” after sending a slew of athletes – including the U.S. basketball team – free headphones, despite Panasonic being the official Olympic sponsor.
© Shaw Media, 2014