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WORLD CUP USA '94 ROUND OF 16 : Spotlight : PRODUCT LOYALTY GOES TOO FAR

July 03, 1994|BILL PLASCHKE

A volunteer in the Foxboro, Mass., media center said last week that World Cup officials have ordered volunteers to lie to the press about the phone service in order to benefit Sprint, a major sponsor.

Although Sprint supplies the nine World Cup venues with phone service for several thousand media members, the hundreds of phones will work for other long-distance companies by using a proper access number.

However, one volunteer claims they have been ordered to tell the media the phones will work only with Sprint accounts, and many writers and broadcasters have bought Sprint prepaid calling cards at an average of $30 a card.

"Sprint is the sponsor, and we are supposed to say that nothing else works," the volunteer said. "If my bosses knew I was telling you this, I would be in big trouble."

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