MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) shares gained, while those of beverage company Ambev SA (NYSE: ABEV) dipped after the two companies who are major sponsors of Copa America backed away from the tournament. Their move comes following players’ criticism regarding the movement of the tournament to Brazil despite the country having one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world.
Copa American shifted to Brazil.
After co-hosts Colombia was ousted due to domestic turmoil and Argentina withdrew due to a spike in coronavirus infections, the South American Football Confederation unexpectedly shifted the tournament, which begins on Sunday, to Brazil. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the severity of COVID-19 and opposed lockdowns, backed the move to shift the tournament. However, footballers, Supreme Court justices, and public health experts questioned the tournament’s prudence amid a pandemic.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 475,000 Brazilians, the highest official death count globally outside the US, and scientists warn that a third wave is on its way, coinciding with the arrival of winter in the southern hemisphere.
Players criticize tournament organizers.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian soccer team issued a statement criticizing Copa America’s organization, citing “humanitarian” concerns, but they confirmed their participation in the competition after reports of a boycott surfaced. There were multiple reports that players were disappointed since they were not consulted and public health concerns.
Following a comprehensive examination, MasterCard chose not to “activate” its sponsorship of the Copa America in Brazil, which means it will temporarily withdraw its branding from the tournament it has sponsored for almost three decades.
AB InBev unit, Ambev SA said, “Its brands will not be present at the Copa America.” Ambev is a sponsor of both Copa America and the Brazilian national team.