Sponsors revel in soccer bonanza

By Published on .

[London] Europe is enjoying a soccer bonanza this month, with worldwide TV audiences for the early stages of the Euro 2004 championships already exceeding Super Bowl viewing figures. The eight official broadcast sponsors of the event-McDonald's Corp., Canon, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, JVC, MasterCard and T-Mobile-are enjoying audiences of 100 million in return for their total investment of $180 million, according to research from Interpublic's Initiative Media.

Nike, although not an official sponsor, is capitalizing on the sporting event, which is taking place over three weeks in Portugal, with a spot airing during the tournament. "Home Game," from independent Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, stars French soccer star and pan-European heartthrob Thierry Henry. Practicing his skills at home, Mr. Henry is unexpectedly assaulted by some of the world's greatest soccer players, who chase him around the house trying to try to wrest the ball from him. Waking from a nap, he discovers he has been playing only with his dog and a sock ball.

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