Busi­ness at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Finweek English Edition - - Advertorial -

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.

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