TEXT OF INTERVIEW
SCOTT JAGOW: One week from today, the biggest sporting event on the planet gets underway in Germany. By some estimates, up to 80 percent of earthlings will watch the World Cup. Consider this: The Super Bowl TV audience is something like 100 million. The soccer tournament will draw close to 30 billion. Business of sports commentator Diana Nyad is with us. Hi Diana.
DIANA NYAD: How are you doing Scott? Doesn’t that blow your mind?
JAGOW: It’s amazing. That is something for advertisers to salivate over.
NYAD: Oh they are licking their chops. I mean, you know, the tournament’s taking place in Germany, as you’re going I understand.
JAGOW: I am going.
NYAD: I’m so jealous.
JAGOW: I can’t wait.
NYAD: I can’t wait for you to tell me when you get back, all your stories. But there are hundreds and hundreds of sponsors going to run their ads through all of this television and Web coverage. Fifteen official sponsors paid up to $50 million. But the big four really that are going to clash in there are the Coke and Pepsi and the Adidas, Nike. And really it’s the Adidas, Nike. This is their time to splash the world you know.
JAGOW: What are the two doing to make that splash?
NYAD: Adidas was born in Germany, still operates out of Germany, and you know they’re one of the official sponsors so what they’ve gone and done is spend all their money on the big stars: David Beckham, Thierry Henry from France and of course Ronaldinho, you know, they’ve gone and spent their money on these stars and they’re going to make them the center of their ad campaigns.
Whereas Nike, they’ve had to be a little more sneaky, and what they’ve decided to do is create this big world of soccer, kind of interactive get on there, talk about the fans, talk about the teams you love, live Web site all about the World Cup and that’s going to be their little playground over the month-long period.
JAGOW: In terms of the actual television ads, how do companies approach things differently with the World Cup say versus the Super Bowl?
NYAD: Well you can imagine, the Super Bowl, even though the game period’s only about three hours, you know we have the pre-game and the post-game so it’s really all day long, but it’s still a one-day event and so advertisers take a lot of risks. They do all kinds of crazy, off-beat, controversial ads so they can be recognized just for that 60 seconds or they might have two or three spots during that time. But now you’ve got a month-long period. I mean God forbid that you’ve missed the game between Ghana and the United States and that was the only big 60-second ad you’ve bought so instead they go much more conservatively. And evidently almost all the ads are going to be based around soccer.
JAGOW: Well I bet the ads will be, well not quite as much fun to watch as the game, but they’ll be fun nonetheless.
NYAD: No, no, they will be fun but it’s so hard if you listen to jock radio all day long they still love to put down soccer. Who’s going to watch the World Cup? Who cares? Well let’s get real, we’re talking about, as you said, some 28 billion people over a month will tune in. And if you don’t tune in here, as far as I’m concerned, you’re out of it. You’ve gotta tune into the world’s greatest sporting event, if you don’t get to go first-hand like you.
JAGOW: I totally agree. Diana, thanks a lot.
NYAD: Thank you Scott, have fun.
Diana Nyad is the Marketplace Business of Sports Commentator.
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