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NIKE OFFICIALLY BECOMES EXCLUSIVE SPONSOR OF U.S. SOCCER
Published October 23, 1997
U.S. Soccer and Nike officially announced a ten-year marketing partnership which calls for Nike to be the exclusive supplier and sponsor of products to U.S. Soccer and its national teams. Nike will also supply and sponsor all soccer balls to the Federation (U.S. Soccer). Nike COO Tom Clarke: "In the end the reason why this is a partnership and will be a partnership over the next 10 years is because we truly share the same goal, and that is to grow the sport of soccer in the United States" ("The Edge," CNBC, 10/22). THROW INS: CNBC's Terry Keenan noted that Nike currently has 12% of the U.S. soccer shoe market compared to adidas' 42% ("The Edge," 10/22). CNN's Susan Lisovicz: "Soccer officials say the saturation of the Swoosh will increase corporate sponsorship." U.S. Soccer President Alan Rothenberg: "The Federation's signed some terrific sponsors -- the MasterCards, the Snickers, the Pepsis of the world -- but obviously the bar has been raised" ("Moneyline," 10/22). USA TODAY's Jerry Langdon reports that Nike, which sponsored the U.S. Women's team tour this year, has "agreed to sponsor" additional U.S. team tours leading up to the '99 Women's World Cup and the 2000 Olympics (USA TODAY, 10/23). But Richard Sandomir reports that unlike its ten-year, $200M deal with the Brazilian National team, Nike "does not have the right to stage exhibitions" for the U.S. teams. U.S. Soccer President Alan Rothenberg: "They put it on the table, but it was never a sticking point" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/23). BRAZIL IN DC? RFK Stadium and Nike officials will meet next week in an effort to bring the Brazilian National team to Washington, DC, to play Ireland in the second game of a soccer doubleheader in late April (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).