The first shots in the sponsorship battle for World Cup domination have been fired by Nike with its purchase of a site on the outskirts of Paris, where it plans to build a football Village.
The sports goods company is expected to run competitions and events, and may bring star teams like Brazil and Holland, which it sponsors, to the site.
Nike was forced to purchase a site on the outskirts of town because the ComitÃ© FranÃ§ais d’Organisation (CFO), which is running the World Cup, has worked with the city to keep Paris free from rival sponsors.
In response to Nike’s move Adidas, one of 12 official sponsors, is considering creating a camp of its own, either under the Eiffel Tower or inside Disneyland Paris.
Nike is also understood to have bought outdoor advertising space in the city, despite CFO efforts to keep it out. The sites were bought over a year ago before the CFO turned its attention to the matter.
Carl Williams, vice president for sales and marketing at International Sports & Leisure (ISL), the commercial agent for FIFA (which governs the World Cup) says: “Adidas is traditionally strong in football and needs to remain so. Nike has to do well in the World Cup because if it doesn’t, sales will go flat. After all, football is the world’s biggest sport.”
A spokeswoman for Nike in France says the company is looking for a site, but nothing is signed yet.
The other 11 official sponsors of the World Cup are Budweiser, Canon, Coca-Cola, FujiFilm, Gillette, JVC, MasterCard, McDonald’s, Opel, Philips and Snickers.