FIFA 2010 Great Opportunity or Damp Squib?
FIFA 2010 is just around the corner. Much has been made of the opportunities this will create for small business but the reality fails to bear it out. It all boils down to trademark rights. FIFA have trademarked everything that refers to the world cup and they have a whole army of lawyers protecting their own interests as well as those of their sponsors.
The result? Small (and not so small) businesses who are not official sponsors will have to be extremely creative to benefit from the promised bonanza without attracting the ire of FIFA. One could be negative and say that this is akin to expecting small entrepreneurs to operate with their hands tied behind their backs but this would not be particularly helpful.
There are legitimate ways around the trademark protection granted to FIFA. Examples that were successfully implemented during the previous World Cup in Germany are bread rolls formed like soccer balls, soccer balls painted onto the noses of vehicles, etc. And then of course we have our famous vuvuselas. They don’t need a FIFA logo to appeal to foreign tourists and local supporters alike.
Even without direct reference to FIFA 2010, entrepreneurs who offer goods and services bearing the (invisible) trademark of excellence will do well. The hordes of foreign and local soccer tourists, who need to be fed, liquored, housed, entertained and supplied with souvenirs, will see to that.