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Asia Business Development – Asia Business Consulting » Side Click: World Cup 2010: Beyond winning and losing

SpirE-Journal 2010 Q2

Side Click: World Cup 2010: Beyond winning and losing

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Side Click: World Cup 2010: Beyond winning and losing

Since the Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega used the term “currency war”, the world has been spooked by the prospect of a vicious cycle of competitive devaluations among the countries of the Group of 20 (G20)1. Of particular concern is the tension between the United States and China. How will companies in Asia’s emerging economies be affected by this latest episode of global currency volatility?

63% of organizations in the UK made provisions for staff to watch World Cup matches, and a further 10% said they would allow arrangements to be made on a local level.’

One such example was Cereal manufacturer Kellogg, which set up big screens for their 660 employees in the central atrium of the company’s Northwest England headquarters in Manchester to view the England team’s attempt to qualify for the tournament’s latter stages.

This may be unsurprising in football-mad Britain. But what about the rest of the world? Spire has sounded out colleagues and business associates whose countries were participants in the 2010 FIFA World Cup to gather insights on the impact of the games in each country.


“Spain overturned another statistic: no country that lost its opening match in the tournament had gone on to lift the trophy,” exclaimed Stefan Meissner, Director for International Business at Block de Ideas.

Spain’s King Juan Carlos hosted a reception for the Spanish squad at his palace in Madrid, where he thanked the team for making “our dreams a reality.”
Stefan Meissner also added that, “Although victory celebrations were widespread when the players returned from South Africa, Spaniards did not miss work as everyone was conscious that the nation’s economy is very fragile.”

“In Madrid, where the official celebration took place, some companies allowed their employees to leave earlier on 12 July afternoon to participate in the trophy offering. But most people celebrated it privately at home or in bars and restaurants with their friends,” he added.


“There was a really heated atmosphere in Germany but still Germans are Germans and they do their work,” said Mario Nikolay, an education professional in Bochum.

There is some truth to this statement as “not all of the country’s employers will allow their employees to watch the game on the job, with only one-third of bosses being likely to allow their workers to support their team, mainly belonging to larger companies with more than 250 employees,” according to Munich based pollster Ifo-Institut.


According to Brazilian marketing professional Claudia Araujo, “Brazil basically shuts down when its team plays, with businesses and schools closed and even elective surgery put off so people can be in front of a TV.” Spire’s own experience of running research programs in Brazil during this time confirmed Araujo’s claim that “if the games took place at around 3-4pm, most companies will stop to watch it and the streets will be empty as the whole country will be in front of the TV.”

South Korea

South Korean soccer fans were able to watch “The Red Devils” in 3D at 50 cinema screens nationwide, thanks to compression solutions provided to CJ Golden Village (CGV) by Ericsson. This made the 2010 FIFA World Cup, according to Ericsson, the first live event ever to be shown in 3D in Korean digital cinemas.

“This ground-breaking broadcast for South Korea was targeted for soccer fans to get closer to the action than ever before, making this huge global sports event an even more engaging experience for viewers,” proclaimed Ericsson’s website.

“The South Korean government extended public transportation operating times by two more hours to accommodate people who watched the games and cheered for South Korea outside their homes,” said Dr. Justin Lee, Spire’s Managing Director for South Korea.


Although France’s World Cup hopes ended in shambles, French employees did get to view the World Cup due to opportune timings. Hugo, a French national, mentioned that, “some small companies authorized employees to watch the games in meeting rooms, as most were scheduled after work timings.”


The island republic’s enthusiasm for the English Premier League (EPL) may have been its undoing. Thanks to the hefty fees paid by local broadcasters for EPL rights, FIFA charged very high fees for the rights to broadcast the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Singapore. As a result, consumers had to pay well over USD 60 per household to view all World Cup matches, making Singapore possibly the world’s most expensive location for viewing the tournament at home. Ironically, the hefty price tag drove most Singaporeans to shun the TV in order to view free web broadcasts of the matches.

While global marketers and business persons strive to understand how the games are enjoyed differently in different countries, all the audience has ever really cared about is the fortunes of their respective national or continental teams….and having a great time.

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