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Adidas aiming for World Cup dominance with largest presence yet

Pras Subramanian

Soccer’s World Cup, the most-watched sporting event in the world, begins its month long spectacle today. Brazil’s squad, the Seleção, takes on Croatia in Sao Paulo to kick off the tournament.

Courtesy Adidas

Let’s not forget that all those eyeballs translate into dollar signs for media and marketers. The World Cup is a monster of a money-making event, with the governing soccer body FIFA expected to pull in $4 billion during this year’s tournament. This does not include all of the exposure and P.R. that associated brands receive through sponsorship. Sporting goods, consumer products, even financial institutions have been capitalizing on soccer’s ever-expanding worldwide appeal for years. But one company that’s been there for nearly 90 years is trying to take its World Cup exposure to another level.

Adidas (ADS.DE), along with World Cup partners Budweiser (BUD), Coke (KO), and Visa (V), is looking to strike a "cracker" as they say in the soccer world in Brazil. In the attached video, Ernesto Bruce, head of Adidas soccer North America, says Brazil 2014 will be the storied sports brand's biggest involvement in World Cup to date

“We’ve been a part of the game for over 90 years. We’ve been part of World Cup for over 50 years, so for us to say this will be our largest and most comprehensive [presence at World Cup] should show you how much we invested in the sport.”

Adidas projects the entirety of its marketing efforts for the World Cup and other initiatives to reap $2.7 billion worth of revenue for its soccer division worldwide. In addition, World Cup promotion is expected to lead to double-digit growth in soccer for Adidas here in the U.S. from 2013 to 2014. Not bad for a sport that’s had trouble competing with the “big four” in the states (football, baseball, basketball and hockey).

For fans, Bruce says the World Cup will be even more relevant in 2014 since Brazil is within the same time zones as most of the U.S., meaning more prime time viewing for fans, and exposure for brands like Adidas.

Mexico's national team, El Tri

Interestingly enough, it's a country south of the border that is powering sales for Adidas. “One [team] that is very relevant for the U.S. is the Mexican national team,” Bruce says. The team has “a huge following here in the U.S., and is actually our number one selling jersey in the U.S. So huge, huge potential if Mexico makes it out of their group. If they make it in into the later grounds, we have a huge opportunity,” he concludes.

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