Soccer sponsorship grows rapidly in Argentina

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BUENOS AIRES -- Since sports team sponsorship was introduced into Argentina in 1983, advertising backing soccer teams has grown from $820,000 to $12m. All told, a total of 17 out of Argentina's 20 professional teams boast official sponsorship. And the biggest sponsor is local beer company Quilmes, which has paid $3m to have its logo appear on the team shirts of the country's most popular team, Boca Juniors. Quilmes has also paid $1.7m to appear on the shirts of Boca's main rival, River.

The cost of soccer sponsorship is expected to continue to rise following the success Italian dairy company Parmalat experienced after it began sponsoring Boca in 1993, says sports marketer Miguel Gorrisen. "When Parmalat came to Argentina, nobody knew this brand. But with the contract that they signed with Boca, everybody began talking about them. It was all because of Boca."

Sponsorship of local soccer tournaments has also become popular, heating up Pepsi Cola and Coke's rivalry in the country. PepsiCo is paying $4m to become the official sponsor of the Argentine Soccer League's Apertura y Clausura tournament - to be renamed the Pepsi tournament, which was originally sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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