Thursday, June 22, 2006
World Cup: This is Serious Business
Anyone who had doubts about the seriousness of business at the World Cup in Germany doesn't need to look far to find evidence to the contrary. Just consider the age-old tradition of event-related "kitsch" – you know, those items that everyone at an event seems to have (or at least wants to have) that become outdated mere moments after the event is over. This year's World Cup is certainly no exception to this rule, and some enterprising individuals have come up with some interesting items for World Cup fans. Even more striking, though, is a story relating to that perennial World Cup favorite: beer. This year, a beer that is undoubtedly on most Germans' (and indeed probably most of the world's) Least-Favorite list spent something like fifty million dollars to be an "official partner" at the World Cup and have exclusive marketing rights. So serious are they about this that Dutch fans wearing pants advertising a different beer were recently forced to remove their pants and watch a game in their underwear. I guess there's more than one way to make a point.
A footnote: The Department of State internal television feed that normally broadcasts only C-Span, CNN, BBC and internal State Department conferences has taken a major departure from the norm and is currently carrying ESPN's coverage of the U.S.-Ghana match. If that's not an argument for the power of the World Cup, I don't know what is.