FIBA Makes Brazil, Finland, Greece, Turkey World Cup Wild Cards; Rovio Helps Finland
The 2014 FIBA World Cup sent its four wild card bids to the national teams of Brazil, Finland, Greece and Turkey on Sunday, according to the DPA. The FIBA World Cup will take place from Aug. 30-Sept. 14 and will have 24 participants. The "big surprise among those receiving bids is Finland, which is ranked No. 39 by FIBA and will participate in its first World Cup" (DPA, 1/2).
ANGRY BIRDS A FACTOR: In Madrid, Daniel Senovilla reported the "selection of Greece, Turkey and Brazil was justified athletically, but the explanation of Finland was more complicated." Rovio, the Finland-based creator of the Angry Birds mobile app, announced that if Finland's team, known as the Wolfpack, "was invited to the World Cup, the company would provide advertising inventory for Finland and the FIBA World Cup." The Angry Birds game has been downloaded more than 2 billion times worldwide since '09. With "this showcase, it is understandable why FIBA chose Finland ahead of Canada, China and Russia" (MARCA, 2/2). Rovio President Peter Vesterbacka said, "We at Rovio understand the challenging role of the underdog. We have closely followed the Wolfpack's performance in the past few years and are fans of the team ourselves. We are happy to be able to support the team's bid and hope that this partnership shows FIBA how small players can achieve great things." Finnish Basketball Association President Antti Zitting said, "As a small Northern country we cannot deliver the same type of TV audience as some other nations, but thanks to Angry Birds, we can offer an engagement platform that no other country can match" (Finnish Basketball Association).