As the World Cup soccer tournament gears up for a June 9 kickoff, the marketing battle between rival athletic apparel marketers Nike and Adidas is expected to rival any soccer match in its intensity and level of competition. Each company is planning extensive marketing campaigns connected to the tournament, with Adidas preparing to spend close to $200 million while Nike will spend more than $100 million. Their efforts will focus on various campaigns designed to sell sneakers, soccer boots, jerseys, soccer balls, and T-shirts. Nike also has teamed up with Google to create the world's first social network for soccer fans, which launched on Mar. 15, and will roll out to 140 countries in 14 languages. But those are only two of the marketers planning to use the World Cup as a marketing vehicle. Others participating by either advertising or some form of sponsorships include Budweiser beer, MasterCard, Gillette, Yahoo!, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola. In total, experts say such marketers will shell out more than $1 billion on the tournament. "There is no real sporting event like this in the world in regard to massive global exposure," says Salvatore Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York investment firm. "It's going to spur sales of all kinds."
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