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Does Rugby Have A Future In Soccer-Crazy Brazil?

Rugby is nowhere close to unseating soccer as Brazil’s national sport. But marketers say there’s potential for growth. In neighboring Argentina, soccer is also king. But fans support their beloved Pumas, the national rugby team.

A rugby match in Brazil
A rugby match in Brazil

*NEWSBITES

The Topper clothing company's new Brazilian catch phrase is a bit of an odd choice for a country where soccer is almost a religion: "Ai, eu sempre adorei o rubgy" -- Alas, I've always loved rugby. The phrase features prominently in a comic television commercial developed for Topper by the Talent marketing firm.

What was Topper thinking? Maybe that Brazilians, as passionate as they are for their "jogo bonito" (the beautiful game), as they call it, could start warming to rugby too. "We sponsor several rugby teams in Argentina and we wanted to try and help the sport grow in Brazil," says Germán Pipet, head of Topper's Brazil operations. By choosing to do marketing campaigns of this sort, "we're betting on the sport's growth potential," he said.

Topper could very well be on to something. In neighboring Argentina, another soccer-crazed country, the participation of Los Pumas – the national rugby team – in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand tripled jersey sales worldwide. Los Pumas jerseys sell for nearly $100 a piece. Rugby balls featuring the team's logo go for about $60.

A report published in September by the international consulting firm Deloitte -- based on a survey of 700 participants -- showed that rugby has the greatest growth potential in Brazil in the coming years. Still, it may have to wait until after 2014: that's when the country hosts the World Cup. Of soccer.

Read the original story in Spanish

Photo - Henrique Yasuda

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Overselling The Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal Is One More Putin Scam

Moscow and Kyiv reached a much hailed accord in July to allow transport of Ukrainian agricultural output from ports along the Black Sea. However, analysis from Germany's Die Welt and Ukraine's Livy Bereg shows that it has done little so far to solve the food crisis, and is instead being used by Putin to advance his own ambitions.

Vladimir Putin inspecting the wheat harvesting at the village of Vyselki, Krasnodar Territory in 2009.

Oleksandr Decyk, Christian Putsch

-Analysis-

Brokered by Turkey on July 22, the Grain Deal between Russia and Ukraine ensured the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the country's largest sea ports. Exports by sea of grains and oilseeds have been increasing. Optimistic reports, featuring photos of the first deliveries to Africa, are circulating about how the risk of a global food crisis has been averted.

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But a closer look shows a different story. The Black Sea ports are not fully opened, which will impact not only Ukraine. The rest of the world can expect knock-on effects, including potentially hunger for millions. Indeed, a large proportion of the deliveries are not going to Africa at all.

As with other reported "breakthroughs" in the war, Vladimir Putin has other objectives in mind — and is still holding on to all his cards.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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