Pepsi to sponsor Argentinian soccer tournament

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BUENOS AIRES -- After a brief disagreement over contract conditions, cola company PepsiCo announced this week it was paying $4m to become the official sponsor of the Argentine Soccer League's Apertura y Clausura tournament - to be renamed the Pepsi tournament.

Originally estimated to cost Pepsi $2m, the negotiating parties hit a snag with a contract clause obligating the soccer clubs to use Pepsi publicity despite the fact that many teams already have contracts with rival Coca-Cola.

The clause was eventually removed but Pepsi is still negotiating with a few teams independently in the hopes of getting them to wear its logo.

By entering the soccer field, Pepsi is hoping to challenge Coke with more than just taste tests. Coca- Cola is the world leader when it comes to soccer sponsorship, a backer of the World Cup and currently boasting an exclusive deal to sponsor the Argentine play-offs for the 1998 elimination round of the World Cup to be held in France.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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