1978 was the last “individual” World Cup. From then onwards, the World Cup was marketed through the medium of a sponsorship program called “InterSoccer”. The Coca-Cola involvement in the development of soccer in Africa and Asia, meant that FIFA were keen to see an extension to the World Cup format so that more nations could be represented. Discussions ensued and the original 16 nations for Spain 82 changed to 24 nations.
Such an increase would necessitate increased expenditure and Patrick Nally was told that he would need to find an extra £55 million to foot the bill. There was no way that such a sum could be found through the World Cup alone so “Intersoccer 4” was born. It was the logical and ultimate extension of the concept of co-ordinated marketing – InterSoccer combined the top events owned by UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations, with those of FIFA.
Participating companies in the first InterSoccer program were offered a package of 79 international soccer matches over a four year period, starting in 1979 and culminating in the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
Each package included four stadium boards at every match. The soccer finals included the European Champion Clubs’ Cup Final, the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final, the first European Championship (1980) in the new eight-nation format, the 1981 Gold Cup in Uruguay and the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
However, this was much more than a stadium advertising program. Each participating company was given a completely exclusive platform in top soccer. For instance, as in the case of Coca-Cola, the stadium franchise for the sale of soft drinks was included. So was the exclusive world-wide right to run promotions linked to the events.
Advertising in official programs, on posters and hoardings, the provision of interpreters and refreshments in press centres, VIP facilities and tickets, merchandising rights and much more
The Coca-Cola Company was the only organisation to purchase two packages in the first ‘InterSoccer 4′ program. And there has been little change to the concept since….just the price continues to rise.