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CUP CRAZY: NIKE KICKING ITS WAY INTO THE SOCCER MARKET
Published July 2, 1998
Nike "may be going hard at soccer" by spending more than $40M around the World Cup -- more than "it has spent on any single event" -- but it is also "going soft ... trying to play it straight in the sport that matters most outside the U.S.," according to Stefan Fatsis, who examines Nike's growing soccer effort in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Nike has climbed to third in the world and second in the U.S. in the soccer market, but "it hasn't cut into" adidas' nearly 40% "dominance." Reebok's former head of global sports marketing, John Boulter, on Nike: "For a long time, they were just the brash Americans throwing money at soccer. But as you watch the World Cup now, you're very conscious of the swoosh." Fatsis writes, "You can't help but be," as Nike personnel are visiting almost 70 French towns, the company built a $7M theme park in Paris and advertisements are "strategically placed along roads and subway stations leading to World Cup stadiums" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/2). WORLD CUP NOTES: Mars Inc. said that sales of Snickers have risen 20% since the World Cup began. A current ad in England shows members of England's national soccer team eating the candy bar (BLOOMBERG/HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/2)... Overnight ratings for ABC's four games last weekend averaged a 2.9, or 1.7 million households. ESPN has averaged 582,000 households for its 23 games, while ESPN2 has averaged 292,000 households through 22 games. Univision has averaged 774,000 households for its 54 games (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/2)....In N.Y., WXTV-Univision averaged a 3.3/9 for its Argentina-England match on Tuesday, and for the final 15 minutes, it outdrew every TV station in N.Y., except for WABC, which had "Oprah" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/2). A record 26 million people in Britain watched the match (Mult., 7/2).