Brazilian identity is intimately connected to football, ranging from the chronicles of playwright Nelson Rodrigues to films such as Linha de Passe and recent Nike football adverts featuring Ronaldinho and Neymar.

Yet, national pride has been massively dented following the disastrous 7-1 World Cup semi-final match against Germany. This was Brazil´s worst score in the 100-year history of the national football team and possibly the biggest shock defeat in the modern history of sports.

The impact of the event in the corporate world is unequivocal. Nearly all of the official sponsors of the seleção distanced themselves from the team following the humiliating loss to their European opponents. Thirteen out of 14 companies momentarily withdrew all publicity linked to the event. The only exception was frozen food manufacturer Sadia, who stated that “we should remain together” at all occasions.

With the passion for football seriously hurt, companies should now move to pastures greener. Or rather, new courts.

The country is currently performing extremely well in the Men’s Volleyball World Championship, being held in Poland. with a streak of consecutive victories. This week the defending champions secured their second win in the tournament, consolidating their leadership in the event.

Brazil has a number of achievements in both indoors and beach volleyball for both men’s and women’s, including various Olympic gold medals. Historically they rank amongst the best in all categories, alongside the US and Russia.

Mintel’s research confirms that Brazilians have a strong passion for volleyball, the country’s second most popular sport. The upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games – Brazilian Attitudes Towards Major Events – Brazil 2014 report reveals that 44% of Brazilian adults planning to watch the Olympics will follow the volleyball matches, trailing only the football (at 71%) and the opening ceremony (69%).

The interest for volleyball is more pronounced amongst people with a higher purchasing power. More than half (52%) of consumers in socioeconomic group AB plan to follow such matches, compared to just 33% of C2s and 38% of DEs.

Volleyball allegiances will become stronger with the impending Rio Olympics in 2016. Manufacturers in various industries should start to align themselves with the sport right now and harvest the results in coming years. The risks are much lower than in football, as Brazil is likely to triumph in at least one of the four categories, and multiple wins are a strong possibility. In a nutshell, it’s time to serve and score!

Victor Fraga is Senior Analyst for Mintel’s Brazil report series. He has more than 13 years of experience in industries including technology, healthcare and the public sector. His previous roles have included companies such as Frost & Sullivan, and Guardian News & Media.

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