FC Dallas' poisonous toad makes his World Cup picks



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Posted on June 20, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 7:26 PM

FRISCO -- It’s official. America loves the World Cup.

Surveys show soccer is as popular in America as baseball. And FC Dallas, the professional soccer franchise in North Texas, is taking advantage of that popularity.

They're aiming to expose more individuals to the joy of soccer with the help of a clever, poisonous toad.

Tex Hopper, who lives in a decked-out aquarium, has a good track record when it comes to picking the winners of World Cup games.

“He has his office, that we refer to as 'Rio de Aquarium,'” said Robert Rardin, the director of marketing for FC Dallas.

Tex is the slightly-poisonous star of FC Dallas’ "Toad to Brazil" social media campaign, best handled with gloves.

By sliding left or right when placed on a mat with both team’s logos, he’s picked five World Cup games and been right four times, live on YouTube.

In fact, each time Tex Hopper makes his picks, more people pay attention on social media. It’s one way the team’s taken advantage of the huge World Cup stage to promote soccer in North Texas, where the sport is growing in popularity.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt. If you look at the TV ratings alone, they’re off the charts," Rardin said. "And not just the US games."

The World Cup is a big stage for the little toad that’s been right four-out-of-five times.

Though they’re still smarting around from that one less.

“We had a stern talk for sure. It got ugly,” Rardin said.

As part of its mission to promote the love of the soccer, FC Dallas is hosting a huge watch party on Sunday at Klyde Warren Park for Team USA at 5 p.m. They expect as many as 6,000 people to show up.

But no toads.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com