World Cup: The essential guide to shopping, eating

Merchandising: Colin Blackstock hops aboard the sponsorship bandwagon
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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL isn't just coming home - it's taking root in the kitchen, bathroom, wardrobe and anywhere else you can think of. Gingerbread men, shower gel, face paints and umbrellas will help marketing men and sponsorship brokers generate pounds 1.5bn of revenue from the World Cup. And with fans set to spend more than pounds 1bn on official merchandise, France 98 is set to be the most financially successful World Cup ever, second only to the Atlanta Olympic games in the history of money-making sporting events.

The vast majority of the money raised will come from the sale of World Cup-endorsed products featuring the France 98 logo (a football rising like a sun over the Earth), or Footix, the cockerel mascot, while Fifa - football's governing body - will rake in an estimated pounds 257m from the 11 main sponsors.

On top of this, Fifa can expect to receive anywhere in the region of 10 to 15 per cent of the total amount of money fans spend on official World Cup merchandise, depending on royalty deals made with the producers of the memorabilia.

Chris Protheroe, deputy managing director of Sony Signatures, the company responsible for granting licences to manufacturers wanting to use the World Cup logos, said they estimated the money generated from licensed products world-wide would be in excess of pounds 1bn.

"We have to control the market while not flooding it. There are a number of factors which are combining to make this such a successful World Cup. The fact that a lot of European teams qualified is playing a big part, as is the fact that the World Cup is happening in France."

While the success, and subsequently the money, that comes from sponsorship deals with the main backers plays a huge part in filling Fifa's coffers, it is the diverse range of merchandise that will help to top up the funds which will eventually be re-invested in the game. Fifa, as the sport's governing body, is obviously keen to invest heavily in development.

Keir Radnege, executive editor of World Soccer magazine, said: "In terms of the World Cup money, it goes to the competing nations in the finals. Various people at Fifa are hoping that with the huge amounts of money coming in from the next two World Cups they will be able to give each football federation money, although only for sensible reasons like development.

"As it is now, each of the countries involved gets around pounds 1m for qualifying, and that will increase the longer they stay in the tournament. Some countries will even have arranged a deal where they get a percentage of profits based on their results."

Fifa is not the only beneficiary from merchandising deals and sponsorship. Each individual country is free to develop links with sponsors in their own country as and how they like.

Adidas is the main sporting sponsor for the World Cup, but it is Nike who have made a football village in Paris where the Nike-sponsored Brazilian national team will turn out for football exhibitions and public appearances.

Closer to home, the Football Association has made its own deals with various sponsors which will allow you to fill up with the Official Petrol of the England Team at any BP garage, or to pop down to your local Sainsbury's to visit the Official England Supermarket.

It is these sorts of licensing deals and sponsorship which have increased the plethora of official merchandise for both the national teams and the World Cup itself. Sainsbury's has a range of more than 350 items ranging from cakes to soap to desserts and 15-minute meals that can be prepared during half-time breaks in World Cup matches. Other items include a bin that doubles as a seat, a replica team bus, kites, toothbrushes and toothpaste and various items of official England team-wear, similar to that which the England team will wear.

With such lucrative sponsorship deals - Fifa say a total "audience" of 35 billion will have tuned in to televised matches by the end of the tournament - the governing body does its best to prevent unlawful use of the trademarks their sponsors are allowed to use on products.

No wonder, given that it is only the beginning of the financial outlay for big players like Coca-Cola, Adidas, Canon and McDonalds. For every pound they invest in buying the right to use the various World Cup trademarks, they will invest at least that amount again in promotion and advertising.

Fifa allows only one type of product to be a sponsor in any given field, which means some of the other multi-national companies must come up with ways of getting around the lack of an affiliation to the World Cup.

Nike have achieved this by creating a football village and purchasing all billboard sites where the matches will be played. The result is that fans are just as likely to associate Nike - who are not an official sponsor - with the tournament as they will Adidas, who are.

Chas Sharp, Fifa's marketing services manager for football, is aware of this and said Fifa does its best to stop such promotions.

"There are what we call parasite marketing activities," he said, "and we do know that some companies do this. Some do it innocently and others not so innocently, but we do our best to make sure it doesn't happen. It's very important for us to protect our sponsors' rights and to deliver their rights exclusively to them."

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