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If Spain wins, bank customers profit

  • CNN.com, Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:51 AM

New sponsors of the Spain's national team include an American car-maker and a bank whose customers will profit if Spain lifts this summer's World Cup. Banesto bank has launched a new credit card -- red like the team's jersey. Clients who spend a certain amount on the card can get an official team jersey for free. The bank in February and March also collected more than a billion dollars in new deposits on the promise they would earn 3 percent interest now, but 4 percent if Spain becomes world champion.

Spain is a perennial underachiever at the World Cup. But after winning the 2008 European Championship and a firm favorite going into this summer's finals in South Africa, Spain is cashing in on unprecedented sponsorship income.

"Until 2008, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were seen as the only big soccer showcases here. Now Spain's national team is even a bigger draw," says Jesus Samper, president of Grupo Santa Monica Sports, which manages the Spanish team's rights for Spain's football federation.

When Spain recently beat France -- in Paris -- the game had a 48 percent rating on Spanish television, with 9 million viewers, almost half of everyone watching TV at that time. The team already has raked in $80 million from sponsors and TV rights. Another relatively new sponsor is Chevrolet, the American car-maker hoping to increase its 2 percent market share in Spain.

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