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The World Over: Continental Takes Prime Place in Globe’s Biggest Sports Event

Continental Takes Prime Place in Globe’s Biggest Sports Event

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In the world of sports, what happens every four years? No, not just the Olympics. How about the World Cup, the global Super Bowl of soccer, or ‘football’ as it is known to the rest of the world.

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Believe it or not, there is nothing bigger in sports. Not the Olympics, not the World Series, not the Super Bowl. In terms of the sheer number of people either attending or watching on TV, the World Cup reigns supreme.

If you didn’t get a sense of the magnitude of this event, imagine this. Take the intense interest in the Super Bowl, combine it with the duration of a U.S. presidential campaign and multiply that by global reach. That is the general view from an advertiser perspective.

For a solid month, one little ball takes center stage and owns the world’s attention. And, this year, Continental AG was one of the World Cup’s 16 major sponsors, a global marketing opportunity of massive proportions.

So involved was Continental, in fact, that it took a high-profile position during the World Cup by providing specially designed tires for the motor coaches that shuttled the 32 Cup teams around to the 12 cities across Germany that hosted matches.

Continental combined its passion for the sport and its enthusiasm for innovation and developed a tire with specially designed sidewalls to mark the event. Based on the HSL1 steer-axle tire, the 295/80R22.5 HSL1 coach tire sported stylized soccer ball emblems and distinctive yellow Continental logos molded into the sidewall.

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“As true fans of both transportation and football (soccer), all of us at Continental were very excited about our involvement in this year’s 2006 FIFA World Cup,” commented Ralf Hoffmann, brand manager for the passenger car and light truck tire segment at Continental in Hanover, Germany.

Continental was one of just three German companies that served as official sponsors of the event and was the sole representative of the automotive and tire industries. “This provided us with an excellent opportunity to present our company and products to a global audience, while, at the same time, demonstrate our passion and enthusiasm for the sport.”

Continental certainly got the world’s attention for 30 days in June and July, all for the mere price of 40 million euros. Now, that sounds like a lot, but when you take into account that a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl is a $1 million proposition, a month’s worth of global exposure – FIFA estimated that, globally, there would be some 41,000 hours of World Cup programming, making it the most watched sporting event ever – for 40 million euros isn’t a bad deal.

For the first time since the World Cup has been televised, all 64 games were broadcast in the U.S.

Consider this when Hoffmann references Continental’s opportunity to reach a global audience. Worldwide, football (soccer) is played by more than 240 million people on more than 1.4 million teams competing in some 300,000 clubs. Being attached to the football world’s premier event has significant impact.

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The last time the World Cup took place in 2002, there were 28.8 billion viewers in 213 countries tuned in to watch Cup matches. More than 2.7 million spectators attended the tournament’s 64 matches, held in Japan and South Korea. Now, that’s a heck of a lot of impressions.

All indications are that viewership of the 2006 Cup will exceed all previous records.

So, the next time a ‘soccer mom’ rolls into your dealership in her minivan or high-end SUV, remember that she and her children are part of a pretty large community, and she is probably familiar with some of the brands that supported the World Cup.

That is what Continental is hoping will happen in the U.S. and everywhere in the world.

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