Business at the 2010 FIFA World Cup
WITH LESS THAN 300 days to go until the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa, there are still plenty of opportunities for individuals and companies to get involved. This is according to FIFA South Africa’s Marketing team which spoke to a packed auditorium at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science recently.
With the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany having attracted 3 359 439 spectators at 64 games across 12 stadiums, and a cumulative audience of 26.29 billion viewers worldwide, one can see the attraction for businesses to ‘piggyback’ on the upcoming tournament in South Africa. FIFA warns however that individuals and organisations must be very clear on the legislation surrounding the event, as those found in breach of the rules and regulations may find themselves facing a fine and/or imprisonment, as well as company directors facing liability for any transgressions made by their organisations.
FIFA has for the first time introduced three tiers of sponsorship for next year’s World Cup, with its global partners, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Hyundai, Sony and Visa making up the first tier. The second tier consists of sponsors, namely Budweiser, Castrol, Continental, McDonald's, MTN and Satyam. The third and final tier is made up of FIFA’s national supporters, FNB, Telkom, BP South Africa, Neo Africa and Prasa.
These partners, sponsors and supporters pay vast sums to be associated with the FIFA brand, and therefore the Marketing team is constantly on the lookout for those who illegally infringe on these companies’ rights. In addition, all licensing rights have been allocated, including broadcasting, clothing, hospitality and publications. Lastly, FIFA has trademarked the official emblem, slogan, trophy, logo, programme, banners, branding, posters, mascot and website, which means that no-one may use any of these without approval from FIFA, as doing so without authorisation would infringe on the rights of the sponsors.
FIFA has created a Rights Protection Programme ( RPP) which aims to realise the commercial rights of sponsors and to protect them. The organisation’s marketing rights are the foundation of the programme, and communication with all stakeholders (including law enforcement), world-wide surveillance and enforcement support this foundation. “Enforcement is the most crucial aspect of the RPP”, says Mpumi Mazibuko, Legal Manager Rights Protection for FIFA SA, “and infringements will be, and already are being, acted upon”.
According to de Rebus, “Ambush marketing takes place when a trader seeks to utilise the publicity value of an event, for instance a major sports tournament or concert, to gain a benefit from it despite not having any involvement or connection with it”.
As part of the RPP, the Rights Protection Unit (RPU) protects all FIFA events from piracy, including IP infringement, unauthorised trading around venues, ambush marketing and illegal ticket sales. In addition they protect FIFA’s trademarks, copyrights and other IP rights, and protect the rights of FIFA and their stakeholders.
There are currently already over 300 cases under investigation by the RPU, some of which have been settled amicably and some of which have gone to court. FIFA hopes that a case that is currently before the courts will show the “teeth” of South Africa’s anti-ambush marketing laws, explains Mazibuko. A key piece of legislation in South Africa, which protects entities such as FIFA, is the Merchandise Marketing Act. In addition, the Trade Practices Act is utilised by FIFA to safeguard its properties.
Ultimately, it is up to the government of each host country to guarantee IP rights, both through existing legislation and the introduction of new legal tools where necessary. In addition, host cities create by-laws to add an extra layer of protection that focuses on each venue and the Commercial Restriction Zone (CRZ) which surrounds it.
Businesses that have operated in a CRZ for a long time will be able to conduct their operations “as usual”, says Mazibuko, but they cannot enter into ambush marketing and must follow ethical business practices. The CRZs in each city are agreed upon by the city itself and the Local Organising Committee, and these are closely monitored to ensure that no unscrupulous marketers infringe on any rights in those zones.
Examples of activities that are not allowed by FIFA include putting up building wraps, banners and billboards that use any of FIFA’s trademarks, including the slogan ‘2010 World Cup’, using soccer balls as the zeroes in 2010, or using soccer imagery with the number 2010. In the CRZs, freebies, promotional items or pamphlets may not be distributed, banners cannot be used on routes to the stadia or in the CRZs, mobile displays, for example on buses, may not be used, and people may not wear brands that conflict with those of sponsors.
Additional restrictions fall on private fan parks in the CRZs, where branding will only be allowed inside the property. Aerial advertising is not allowed and there is a no-fly zone around all stadia, and unauthorised street trading is also forbidden.
While all of these regulations seem daunting, Mazibuko encourages businesses to make themselves aware of the possibilities that do exist, such as using non-branded displays that are national flag related. A Rights Protection Programme has been issued to all host cities and there is a public information sheet and public viewing guidelines freely available on FIFA’s website. In addition, a FAQ document is being compiled that will guide organisations that wish to conduct business without infringing on FIFA’s rights.
If in doubt, Mazibuko advocates contacting the DTI for a list of IP lawyers who would be able to assist any companies with queries around the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In this way, businesses can avoid any legal complications and potentially expensive mistakes by creating a strategic and legitimate plan the first time round.