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USSF UNVEILS GROWTH INITIATIVE; SPONSORS SET FOR WORLD CUP
Published June 1, 1998
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 www.time.com/worldcup, 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).