Wednesday, 10 December 2008

2010 World Cup: Progress Scorecard

Thanks to our brothers CNBC –South Africa for this report. In a weekly televised program on Sunday (with a repeat on Tuesday evening), the football and business community in south Africa are already checking the progress of the World Cup to be held in the country in 2010. Last night’s repeat had some interesting yardsticks they are using to know if they are on the right track on not; these include;

i) Brand awareness- the organizers set up shop in 2 last major sports events the most recent being the Beijing Olympics. Though they had the stand, they may have not exploited it to the full in creating awareness about the brand 2010 WC South Africa, according to Dr. Nicklaus Eberi.
ii) Winning team- South Africa had tottered in their build-up matches for the event but in the last 4 outings has managed to win. This gives the locals confidence of seeing their team through to the knock-out stages and could bode well since history favours host countries.
iii) Fan representation- this compares the local versus international fans, with this being touted as fearlessly competitive race for the 3.1 million tickets available. Given the African weather and unexploited natural resources, the SA WC might see a sell-out way before the 2010 deadline. Quota systems may apply but the black market will most likely be active as ever.
iv) Gender equality- fans coming to watch the games- women accounted for more than 40% of the fan base for the 2006 Germany WC and this time the number is expected to rise though marginally. How this is divided among the African states will be an interesting phenomenon
v) Visitors’ safety –this is the prick in the butt for the organizers with the situation far from being resolved. Given the fragility of the neighbouring state of Zimbabwe and high incidence of violent crime in South Africa, security forces both public and private have quite a task to ensure this is sorted by next year.
vi) Media centricity- this involves coverage of the run-up and related events such as the Confederations Cup, training sessions, friendlies and general state of the economy. FIFA has even hired 4 independent journalists to ensure non-biased coverage thus far and ensure not just the negative news gets out but also the positive developments taking place.
vii) Sponsorship money- According to findings, most sponsors will have value for their money with the sponsorship deals expected to be the highest ever. Given FIFA’s shrewd marketing team and the South African’s well-organised marketing team, sponsors are expected to reap huge rewards for supporting the event
viii) Catalyst to national unity- compared to the Rugby World Cup held in 1995, the World Cup represents a more diverse audience and team representation isn’t as skewed. But there are the underlying factors such as the 2009 General Elections expected to be fierce unlike previous years.
ix) Economic legacy- this compares the state of the economy before, during and after the event to measure the benefits reaped from hosting it. In Germany’s case, the tourists’ numbers improved by over 30% and the economy continues to enjoy a feel-good factor to this day among its peers in Europe. The same can be said of countries which hosted the Euro 2008-Switerland and Austria.

For the rest of Africa, we should be more than supportive to this cause since this will represent the potential of hosting other major events and this will be the reference point-success is the only choice in this case.
Check out CNBC on your TV (channel 49) or for those with satellite TV on DSTv-Sundays afternoon 2.30 p.m and Tuesday 8.30 p.m in the evening.

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