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The National Football League's international division is negotiating with Coca-Cola Co. and Visa USA, each competing to become the single title sponsor of its World League of American Football, which will be rebranded NFL Europe.

The division also is scouting for an agency to communicate what amounts to a repositioning of NFL Europe in the six countries where it has teams.

The agency is likely to be based in Germany, NFL Europe's strongest market. A decision will be made within three months.


The revamped marketing strategy stems from the league's rethinking of how it should build its international business. NFL Europe represents a revamp of the World League, a joint venture with News Corp. launched in 1994. It did well initially, but lost its glamour, especially in England and Spain.

NFL International, working with CKS Partners, London, diagnosed the problem as a failure to infuse the World League with the allure of the NFL brand.

"The name World League didn't connect it to the NFL," said Don Garber, senior VP at NFL International.

NFL International is also working on joint marketing programs with pro football leagues in Canada and Japan.

NFL International wants its new title sponsor to support the league in each country with marketing programs. Coca-Cola and Visa are mulling a sponsorship pact estimated at $5 million. The deal would include logo exposure on team uniforms.

Mr. Garber said NFL International will also try to educate Europeans about NFL-style football through TV broadcasts, grass-roots programs and international exhibitions featuring NFL teams.

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