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Be bold
Be bold
Soccer is a $2 billion business for Nike, but back in 1994, sales were just $40 million. During the World Cup that year, Nike executives persuaded founder Phil Knight to make a big push into the sport as a way to enter international markets. In 1995 it signed the world-renowned Brazilian national team to a 10-year sponsorship deal; in 2008 the company bought Umbro, an influential soccer brand in Europe. Nike now dominates the sport.

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Last updated February 03 2011: 6:00 AM ET
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