By Marianne Arens from Germany:
Football World Cup 2006—a multibillion-euro business
31 May 2006
Less than two weeks before the 18th soccer world championship kicks off, public life in Germany has been overcome by an unparalleled World Cup mania.
No city centre, station forecourt or public square, no shop window, no newspaper, no television station and hardly a single programme, let alone any adverts, are without the obligatory reference to the forthcoming games, with their footballs and goals, waving flags and jubilant fans.
The actual sporting event—64 games of soccer in 12 different stadiums, in which 32 national teams will play against each other for the world championship—seem to pale into the background beside the all-pervasive orgy of advertising and commercialisation.
World Cup 2006 is a business worth billions, with the sale of television transmission rights alone bringing in more than €1 billion.