Chad Bray:

Several news outlets reported that Adidas, the German sportswear maker, was likely to succeed Nike. The Financial Times reported that such a deal could be worth up to £750 million over 10 years, making it one of the most lucrative equipment sponsorship deals in sports.

Crazy. Though perhaps not as crazy as the fact that American car-maker Chevrolet will be the main sponsor of the team starting this year (that deal cost $599 million over eight years).

Yes, Man U will be wearing jerseys with a giant Chevrolet logo on the front. (Nike will still be there this year since that deal ends next year.)

Sam Borden on U.S. World Cup coach Jurgen Klinsmann:

While not all of Klinsmann’s moves have paid such obvious dividends, the guiding principle for Klinsmann is always a desire for progress. Roland Eitel, one of Klinsmann’s longtime friends, said Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany as a player and coached the 2006 German team to a third-place finish, differs from most of his countrymen in that he does not like to reminisce about glory days.

Eitel recalled a reunion of the 1990 team at which most of Klinsmann’s teammates raucously relived the tournament in Italy while Klinsmann mostly sat quietly.

“He has no use for the past,” Eitel said.

Hard to argue with the result so far.

Gregor Aisch:

The best national teams come together every four years, but the global tournament is mostly a remix of the professional leagues that are in season most of the time. Three out of every four World Cup players play in Europe, and the top clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have players from one end of the globe to the other.

Fantastic interactive graphic by NYT.



How Twitter Is Preparing For The World Cup

Twitter crashed repeatedly during the 2010 World Cup. Here’s how the company’s engineers are preparing for the 2014 games.

“I’ve been here just shy of five years, and I still have PTSD from the last World Cup at Twitter,” Twitter engineer Raffi Krikorian told Fast Company. “When you come to my floor at Twitter headquarters, we have signs all over the floor with a countdown to the World Cup. Reliability is at the top of our minds, and reliability first is the mantra. Somewhere in the world, there is a sporting event, an election, or an earthquake.”

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Hold on to your butts.

Debbie Emery sat down with ESPN’s Bob Ley to talk about the upcoming World Cup in Brazil:

Emery: With only an hour’s time difference between Rio and New York, and four hours to Los Angeles, do you anticipate that will help with ratings?

Ley: The timing is heaven — the first match is noon EST and the last at 6 p.m. EST. It is going to be an incredible advantage for us. I don’t deal in numbers — I am going to let the corner office deal with the ratings — but I predict that the economy of the U.S. is going to take a six-week hit! Productivity is going to plummet.

This seems like it’s going to be a massive, massive World Cup, maybe for the first time in the U.S. — even if the U.S. doesn’t fare all that well in their “group of death”.

Brendan Greeley 

On June 12 in São Paulo, Brazil will play Croatia in the first game of this year’s World Cup. The corporate spend on team sponsorships alone, according to Ohlmann, will total almost $400 million. Nike will sponsor 10 national teams, more than it ever has before—and one more than Adidas. Nike has Brazil, Portugal, and Ronaldo. Adidas has Spain, Germany, and Lionel Messi, the Argentine who has won the Ballon d’Or four times. As in every World Cup since 1970, the ball on the field will be Adidas’s.

Fascinating war between the two. Sponsorship, no longer image, is everything.