JOHANNESBURG (TheStreet) -- Landon Donovan's foot propelled the U.S. to the World Cup's knockout stage by helping to beat Algeria today, but it drove a whole lot of sponsorship money there as well.
While World Cup and U.S. Soccer sponsors
Castrol are likely thrilled with Sam's Army's win over Algeria in the 91st minute, red, white and blue backers including
are just as ecstatic.
Shut out of World Cup sponsorship by
, Pepsi and its Gatorade product are sneaking into the elimination round thanks to a charity-driven deal with U.S. Soccer. Partnering with players Tim Holden, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard to fund grants for a children's hospital and brain aneurysm and Tourette syndrome research, Pepsi launched an extensive online campaign that has continued throughout the tournament:
U.S. Soccer supporter AT&T, meanwhile, benefits from a relationship with MediaFLO and its FLO TV product. The mobile-television device not only used ties to
ESPN and its World Cup coverage to shill its own product -- thinly veiling the event as "soccer's biggest stage" and "the cup" -- but also tied in sales partners like
while using U.S. captain Landon Donovan to endorse the whole package:
U.S. Soccer's success also means an extended role in Nike's "Write the Future" campaign, which has been poking at
World Cup exclusivity for more than a year. Not only did Nike produce the jerseys that have been on Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and the rest of the U.S. team's backs throughout the World Cup, it made Donovan one of the featured players in the now-legendary commercial spot:
Dick's Sporting Goods
Jose Cuervo also financially committed to U.S. Soccer, those companies get at least one more game's worth of World Cup-level sponsorship without having to shell out FIFA's multimillion-dollar sponsor costs. For consumers, this means a lot more Landon Donovan pushing product, but for companies and their savvy shareholders, that extra-time goal could lead to a much bigger win before the closing bell.
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.