SBJ/December 17 - 23, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Lego attaches itself to soccer in time for World Cup

Toy brickmaker Lego has signed a one-year, top-tier sponsorship deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation, giving it rights to the men's and women's U.S. soccer teams in a World Cup year.

The move continues the toymaker's push into licensing and sports, which started two years ago with a Major League Soccer sponsorship and the introduction of Lego soccer sets. While the MLS relationship has lapsed, Lego America's highest-priced soccer set, the $50 Championship Challenge, has become the company's top-selling set of all time.

Lego's American arm is expanding its soccer offerings from four to six sets next year, including the U.S. men's national team in the name of a $90 set. Under the new sponsorship, Lego gets field board signs at 16 team "friendly" or exhibition matches played by the men's and women's teams, one ad in every televised game and the rights to have a still undetermined marketing process on site at those games.

Lego also plans a sweepstakes that will offer a chance to practice with members of the U.S. team as grand prize. Other top-tier U.S. Soccer Federation sponsors: Allstate, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Gatorade, Havoline, Hershey Foods, Nike and Philips Electronics.

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