By and  on June 12, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO — Coincidence or not — when the soccer World Cup kicks off today at 5 p.m. São Paulo local time, it will happen in a market that bears enormous potential for international sports brands.

Much like the players on the pitch, Adidas, Nike and Puma will be flexing their marketing muscles and competing for excellence and visibility, each in their own way. “Brazil is an $11 billion [sports apparel] market, the fourth largest in the world, following the U.S., China and Japan,” said Alexis Frick, a researcher with Euromonitor International, adding that over the past few years the country has experienced a growth rate of 14 percent, “something developed countries can only dream of.” No surprise then that for global sports brands, Brazil, with an estimated population of 200 million, is a strategic battleground, “and football presents the largest opportunity.”

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