Indra Nooyi strengthens the US Bid Committee

Dear all,
The USA is  bidding to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.  Yesterday, Indra Nooyi, the chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo, is the latest addition to the a high-profile board of directors. She accepted the invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee with the aim of hosting the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.

I find very interesting how the US bidding Committee team is strengthening its World Cup bid. A long process paved with meaningful milestones. The World Cup 2010 unveiled a strong interest in football and an impactful audience increase in the US . Then Thierry Henry moved to NYRB and lift the MLS playing value. Next, adidas and the Major League Soccer extended their partnership until 2018.

There are more great achievements and partnerships. One which is worth mentioning is the addition of Indra Nooyi, (Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo) joining the US Bid Board of Directors. Sunil Gulati’s team is indeed made of high profile executives such as former US President Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg (Mayor NYC), Don Garber (MLS Commissioner), Robert Iger (President & CEO The Walt Disney Company) to name a few. India-born Nooyi has just been named by Fortune magazine as the most powerful woman in US business for the fifth year running.

Let’s keep in mind that Pepsi has been a sponsor of the MLS for the past 15 years and was the exlusive beverage sponsor of the US team during the South African World Cup. Although not being a FIFA partner, the beverage brand is elbowing its way in the World Cup brand concert.

Sunil Gulati, (Chairman of the USA bid committee and President of US Soccer) said: “Indra Nooyi has the same gift in developing and overseeing innovative corporate strategy as she does inspiring the people around her and everyone she meets. It’s that kind of leadership that will be important to our efforts, and for that reason we are fortunate to welcome Indra to our team. Indra and PepsiCo are also longtime friends of US Soccer so their familiarity with our mission will be extremely beneficial in the months ahead.”

It’s another significant addition to the US Bid Committee. A high profile executive leading a company involved in football. The interesting component here is that Coca-Cola’s partnership with FIFA runs until 2022. On a timing perspective, we will know on December 2 if the US will host the World Cup in 2022 (there are great chances that 2018 will be allocated to Europe). Now, should the US host the 2022 World Cup, Pepsi will have a strong card to play to become a FIFA partner and link its brand to football more significantly.

Your thoughts?

Karl Lusbec