Who's Winning the World Cup? Online, It's Nike.

The real games at the World Cup might be on the soccer field–or “pitch,” if you’re being proper–but there’s also a World Cup competition of sorts on the Web, especially where advertisers are concerned.

Among brands that are advertising around the World Cup, Nike (NKE) is running away (horrible pun intended) with the online attention, according to several Internet and social-media trackers. A Nielsen study released Friday found that Nike had about 30 percent of the World Cup “buzz” among brands on blogs, message boards and social-networking sites–a coup for a company that isn’t a partner or official sponsor of the World Cup or of FIFA, soccer’s governing body.

FIFA has been trying to limit the visibility of companies that haven’t paid the hefty price for official sponsorships, the Journal reported this week. But although the organization can restrict advertising around venues, there’s little it can do online. Poor FIFA partner Adidas had about 14 percent of the online mentions, followed by Coca-Cola (KO) and Sony (SNE) at about 12 percent each.

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