World Cup: Guerillas on the Pitch

1. Making FIFA See Orange

In South Africa, it was just made known on Tuesday that charges had been dropped against the two Dutch women who had faced criminal prosecution for their possible role in Dutch brewer Bavaria's World Cup ambush marketing plans.

Thirty-six Dutch women wearing skimpy orange dresses with the Bavaria logo were ejected from last week's Netherlands-Denmark World Cup match under suspicion of ambush marketing. The women caught the eye of experts on the lookout for guerilla campaigns. Known for its tough stance against ambush marketing, FIFA filed civil and criminal charges against the two Dutch women alleged to have organized it but announced on June 22 that the case had been settled and all charges dropped. Anheuser-Busch InBev's (BUD) Budweiser brand is the official beer of the FIFA World Cup tournament.

Squelching ambush marketing campaigns has been all but a subtheme at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. During the first weekend's match between Ghana and Serbia at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, FIFA officials removed flags covered with a range of nonofficial sponsoring company logos. On the Internet, global companies led by Nike (NKE) are doing all they can to tie into the event, whether or not they are paying sponsorship fees to do so. Nike, neither a World Cup sponsor nor FIFA partner, has captivated tens of millions of viewers on YouTube with its "Write the Future" ad; a Nielsen Media analysis of social networking sites and blogs over the past month found that Nike was "more frequently linked to the World Cup than any of the tournament's official partners and sponsors," such as Adidas (ADS.GR) or Sony (SNE). The Philadelphia Inquirer also notes that an entire building in downtown Johannesburg is "covered in a 30-story Nike ad featuring the image" of Cristiano Ronaldo.

One organization that has closely followed the work of ambush marketers is the CMO [Chief Marketing Officer] Council in Palo Alto, Calif. The company's "Doing Away with Foul Play in Sports Marketing" global thought leadership initiative leading up to the 2010 World Cup is aimed at helping sensitize and alert brand sponsors and sports franchises to trademark trespassing, property rights violations, and online scams, frauds, and infringements. Also tied directly into the World Cup, the Council's "Get Wildly Creative About South Africa" people-inspired nation brand advertising contest sought to develop fresh ideas and dynamic creative content that shed a positive light on South Africa. Italian filmmaker "Booris" was awarded the Grand Prize in the contest powered by Zooppa, a global social media network of 60,000 creative enthusiasts, for his video One and Eleven. More than 400 contestants submitted creative work in three categories, including video, print advertising, and online banner display.

"Capturing the essence of a brand in an intensely captivating and engaging campaign is one of the most challenging tasks facing marketers promoting nation brands," says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "It was truly amazing to see the variety of content, difference in view, yet singularity of idea that the brand of South Africa is one of diversity, inspiration, hope, and aspiration."

2. Ultimate Sports Cities Awards 2010

Think your hometown is sports savvy? How does it stack up against the rest of the world?

Each year, SportBusiness International designates a shortlist of 25 cities around the globe as Ultimate Sports Cities, after analyzing the locations of 2,000 sports events and federations over more than a decade and awarding points based on the significance of the event/federation. "Size bands" enable cities with populations of 1 million or fewer (small), 1 million to 3.4 million (medium), and so on to be taken into account. Other judging criteria include current facilities, infrastructure, government support, quality of life, and public interest.

Accordingly, here are the top 10 cities in the Ultimate Sports City 2010 Final Rankings:

1. Melbourne

2. Singapore

3. London

4. Berlin

5. Sydney

6. Vancouver

7. Manchester

8. Dubai

9. Paris

10. New York

The only other American city on the 2010 list? Chicago, coming in at number 18.

Rick Horrow is a leading expert in the business of sports. As CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures, he has been the architect of 103 deals worth more than $13 billion in sports and other urban infrastructure projects. He is also the sports business analyst for CNN, Fox Sports, and the Fox Business Channel. Karla Swatek is vice-president of Horrow Sports Ventures and co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider's Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports (February 2010).

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