Hyundai looks for boost from women's soccer World Cup

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SEOUL--Sponsorship of the Women's World Cup soccer tour-nament will eventually pay off, Hyundai Motors officials said after the event ended.

"Women are increasingly making decisions in car purchases," said Hyundai Motors Spokesman Steve Kitson in Seoul. Although car purchases within South Korea's domestic market remain largely under the control of men, Mr. Kitson says, "In markets like the U.S., the proportion of female buyers is much higher than it was 10 years ago."

Hyundai provided 122 cars for soccer officials and players, and posted perimeter advertising during the 22-day event. Broadcast live by ABC and ESPN, "this was obviously a very high profile event in the U.S. ... and ensures a high level of TV coverage to a global audience. One of the things Hyundai needs to do is get the name known more widely through the world. This was a brand building exercise," Mr. Kitson says.

Hyundai would not disclose the cost of the campaign, saying only that it was part of a four-year package signed with FIFA, the world soccer authority. Hyundai Motors is FIFA's official automotive sponsor from January 1999 through 2002 for upcoming events like the Confederations' Cup, the Youth World Cup, and the 2002 Japan-Korea World Cup.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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