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          Two weeks before the World Cup, the U.S. Soccer
     Federation (USSF) on Friday outlined "an ambitious" $50M
     plan that is "intended to guide" the U.S. to victory in the
     World Cup by 2010, according to Grahame Jones of the L.A.
     TIMES.  The plan, "quickly dubbed the 'Rothenberg
     Initiative,'" will feature an "unprecedented commitment" to
     the development of players in the U.S., "beginning at the
     under-14 level and progressing all the way to the full men's
     and women's national teams."  Included in the program is the
     establishment of a training program at the Bollettieri
     Soccer Academy in FL; the formation of a national scouting
     system to target young talent; and the expansion of the
     joint USSF and MLS Project 40 program, which has players
     turning pro out of high school with USSF and MLS funding the
     players' education (L.A. TIMES, 5/31). In Baltimore, Lowell
     Sunderland said the plan will provide a "broader, richer
     training for teen-age players" (Baltimore SUN, 5/31).
          DRINKING FROM THE CUP: The World Cup is previewed in
     BUSINESS WEEK and the FINANCIAL TIMES.  The event, with a
     projected 37 billion viewers worldwide, has sponsors paying
     as much as $30M to be official global partners.  Official
     partners include Coca-Cola, adidas, Opel, MasterCard, Canon,
     Fuji Film, Gillette, JVC, McDonald's, Philips and M&M
     Mars/Snickers.  But eight companies have paid the French
     Organizing Committee a total of $100M to be "suppliers,"
     including Hewlett-Packard (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/8 issue).  A-B
     is also an official World Cup partner.  A total of 45
     companies are sponsoring the World Cup, paying an estimated
     $456-489M, and for sponsors, the "key" word when it comes to
     the World Cup is "global" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/31).
          NOTES: Time Inc. New Media is introducing its "first
     big worldwide on-line project," a Web site devoted to  the
     World Cup.  The site, at, has signed
     Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics and Varig
     Brazilian Airlines.  Time execs "valued the cost of the
     sponsorship for the four advertisers" at $500,000, with
     promotions related to the site (N.Y. TIMES, 6/1)....In St.
     Paul, Tom Powers wrote that the U.S. population is "reacting
     with their usual yawn" over the World Cup (PIONEER PRESS,
     5/31)...U.S. Soccer's Rothenberg said that "realistically"
     he does not expect the U.S. team to advance beyond the first
     round of the event (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).

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