The world of sports is closely intertwined with the world of business.  Sports franchises and leagues function to create an economically-viable product for profit.  Businesses in many industries utilize sports entertainment for its unmatched marketing opportunities.  Global athletic events bring tourism, trade, and international attention to host cities and countries.  Businesses could not function without sports and sports could not function without business.  This week, the globalEDGE blog will take a closer look at business and economic impacts of sports around the world. 

The FIFA World Cup is a rare athletic event with the potential to gain attention of fans on every continent.  While major multinational firms such as Coca-Cola use the tournament as a key marketing opportunity to reach their global customers, not all World Cup sponsors brought such a high level of international brand recognition to the table.  Yingli Energy, a Chinese solar panel company, was one such sponsor.

After sponsoring last year’s World Cup in South Africa, Yingli has signed up again to sponsor the tournament when it travels to Brazil in 2014.  Sports are at the center of the company’s marketing strategy, as it also partners with Germany’s Bayern Munich and the NFL’s New York Jets.  This marketing approach is a source of differentiation between Yingli and competitors in the renewable energy business.  Whether the company is targeting emerging economies such as India or developed nations such as the United States, sports are one marketing channel without regard for national borders.

The global nature of sports is closely aligned with the global aspects of Yingli’s business strategy.  The company has operations on five continents and 10 global branches.  After partnering with the World Cup, Yingli's management has seen a notable growth in the company’s brand.  Share prices increased by 46% during the tournament.  Simultaneously, Yingli’s involvement helped FIFA to satisfy fans who called for the World Cup to embrace sustainability.

Yingli and the World Cup are only one example of the sort of mutually beneficial relationships that can develop when global businesses and international sports come together.  Throughout this week, globalEDGE will dig deeper into topics such as small business involvement in London’s 2012 Summer Olympic Games, sports sponsorships, and the economic impacts of global sports events.  Be sure to tune in throughout the week for more in depth analysis of these topics.

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