Brilliant! FIFA promotions

They call it the beautiful game. And soccer's ultimate showcase, the FIFA World Cup, only comes along every four years and attracts about 314 million viewers per match. With the tournament kicking off in Germany on June 9, sponsors are naturally working hard to catch the attention of fans both on and off the pitch. Here are a couple of nifty plays that rank up there with Ronaldhino's foot work. Well, almost.

They call it the beautiful game. And soccer’s ultimate showcase, the FIFA World Cup, only comes along every four years and attracts about 314 million viewers per match. With the tournament kicking off in Germany on June 9, sponsors are naturally working hard to catch the attention of fans both on and off the pitch. Here are a couple of nifty plays that rank up there with Ronaldhino’s foot work. Well, almost.

That’s a lot to bear

It’s just as important to leverage FIFA sponsorship at the grassroots level as it is on an international scale. Adidas Canada gets that. This year, the Concord-Ont.-based company has invited 12 Canadian kids, aged 10-14, to become official FIFA 2006 World Cup Flag Bearers for the quarter-final games on July 1. Not only will they get to march onto the pitch in front of 300,000 viewers, they’ll also accompany the world’s best soccer players, plus watch the action live once their job is done. The winners, who will have all travel expenses covered, will of course be decked out in official World Cup uniforms designed by the soccer brand. As part of a global contest, young Canucks had to pick up ballots at SportChek stores nationally and Sports Experts stores in Quebec. An adidas code on the ballot enabled access to the official entry site at www.adidassoccer.ca.

Rogers keeps wireless fans in touch

Toronto-based Rogers Wireless is unveiling a new collection of MP3 and video phones that can play exclusive content from the World Cup. The Video Alert Pack, which costs $20-$25, will give fans access to live video alerts and highlights, while the SMS Alert Pack, priced $10-15, will enable them to pick up anthem ring tunes, adidas player interviews, SMS updates of team play and scores. As well, subscribers are eligible to enter a contest to win one of three adidas grand prize trips for two to the semi-finals or adidas gear by texting CHEER to 333 from their Rogers Wireless mobile phones or by visiting www.rogers.com/soccer2006.

Nike takes it to the next level

Controversial calls. Big goals. Heart stopping saves. Soccer fans can’t get enough. With that in mind, Nike, in partnership with Pattison Outdoor, its agency Cossette Toronto and with technical assistance by Oakville, Ont.-based Digital View, is allowing consumers to download such video clips via SMS text messaging to media screens at malls. How does it work? An ‘attractor loop’ of content plays on the screens and mall visitors can text codes to a system that triggers a specific video. The first venue, Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, went live on May 5, with malls in Montreal and Vancouver eventually coming into play.