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Sponsors hail World Cup success

PARIS, July 13, 2010 (AFP) – Adidas is world champion, but Nike scored the tournament's winning goal: for the World Cup's official suppliers and sponsors, the planet's most-watched sporting event is an unmitigated success.Adidas, which supplies the Spanish team’s kit, congratulated itself on the ‘rojas’ 1-0 victory against the Netherlands in Sunday’s final, which saw its trademark three stripes march to the top of the podium.

"Adidas is world champion," a brand spokeswoman told AFP. "The outcome is absolutely positive."

The German group, also official partner of world football governing body FIFA, is eyeing sales of 1.5 billion euros (1.9 billion dollars) this year, with the "Jubulani" competition football its hottest product, the spokeswoman said.

The company has also sold 1.2 million Germany shirts, over a million Mexico, Argentina and South Africa shirts and around a million Spain shirts.

Nike, which supplies the Dutch team, put the emphasis on the fact that "the winning goal was scored by a Nike boot" in the final’s 116th minute by Andres Iniesta.

"On the pitch, there were more Nike boots than of other brands," or 47 percent Nike and 32 percent Adidas, said Charles Brooks, spokesman for the US sportswear giant.

"The competition has been an immense success" for Nike, said Brooks, with a 39 percent rise in football-related sales in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year.

German brand Puma, the World Cup’s third-biggest supplier, also hailed its success.

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"We are very happy, the World Cup’s outcome is very positive for us," said Ulf Santjer, Puma’s head of communication.

"We not only established but even strengthened our number three position" in the football market, he said.

With seven national teams contracted to Puma, including semi-finalists Uruguay, the brand took part in 26 out of 64 matches, spending around 39 hours in front of the cameras and hundreds of millions of viewers around the world.

Puma is also the number one sponsor of African teams, and the success of quarter-finalists Ghana shows "that African football is now top level," said Santjer.

Sponsorship success is not limited to shirts and boots, with Japanese electronics giant and FIFA official partner Sony hailing "a real success."

"Not only because of the brand’s presence as an official partner, but also because for the first time we could show 3-D pictures" around the world, said a spokesman in Tokyo.

"That has had a bigger than expected impact on sales of 3-D televisions," the unnamed spokesman said, declining to provide a figure.

"For Sony, such an event is also beneficial for our music and video game activities."

Little-known Chinese solar panel manufacturers Yingli Solar hailed the competition’s ability to strengthen its brand.

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Jason Liu, vice-president in charge of marketing, said that "the impact has been very good… the reaction from our clients, people in the industry, from the general public, has been very good."

Other sponsors such as German car parts maker Continental say it’s too early to assess the impact of involvement with the competition, which can cost tens of millions of euros.

The World Cup is "a very interesting communication platform for us" said a Continental spokesman, adding that "we’ll also be on board for the next competition in Brazil."

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