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Coming Soon to a Pitch Near You: Argentina vs. Brazil
BBC Sport, August 28th, 2006 4:16PM
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Argentina and Brazil travel to England this weekend for a meaningless friendly that will be chock full of world stars. Why? For one reason only, writes Tim Vickery of BBC Sport: these teams are brands with serious star power that command serious cash. Even the rivalry Brazil-Argentina has become its own brand. But it's a different sort of rivalry, different from, say, England vs. Germany in that Argentina and Brazil have no reason other than soccer to be at odds with one another. For neutral fans, who will comprise the vast majority of those in attendance at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, "being at an Argentina-Brazil match means getting in touch with the finest that the sport has ever produced - and now they are bringing their rivalry and their stars to London." Sound like a marketing pitch? You bet it does. Brazil's relationship with multinational sponsors is well known, Vickery says, and has made a huge difference in terms of the team's worldwide profile. In 1994, few England fans wouldn't be able to tell you much about the World Cup-winning Brazilian national team; by 1998, many of the subs had even become household names. Argentina, sensing a bright future with stars like Leo Messi and Carlos Tevez, is now on a similar PR path, having recently signed with a Russian-based company that will help set up the team's friendly schedule for the next five years. The obvious consequence, unfortunately for their home-based fans, is that the bulk of their friendlies will be played in markets that hand them the best return on investment, i.e. places like Emirates Stadium in Ashburton Grove, not Buenos Aires. Read the original story...

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