As the four yearly extravaganza approaches, are unauthorised World Cup promos and name-checks going to keep the lawyers in designer dress-down yet again?
Topic: Sports marketing
When: September 2001
With the 2002 soccer World Cup just around the corner in June 2002, FIFA has already rattled its sabre against unauthorised use of branding for the event, taking place this time in Japan and South Korea. Editorial use is fine, they say, but any attempt to try and gain association with the event for other reasons will be stamped on hard.
This applies particularly on-line this time, as FIFA has appointed Yahoo! its first new media partner, hosting the official website fifaworldcup.com, offering streaming archived footage, providing wireless updates and developing and running the official e-shop.
Why this matters:
Marketers wanting to piggy back off the World Cup, on-line or off-line, will have to take care. If past form is anything to go on, even offering match tickets in prize promotions may incur the wrath of the event rights owners, and watch the use of cups looking coincidentally like the Rouse Trophy as well as the “World Cup” phrase.
Taking care includes taking advice when necessary of course, and it must be said that this is a different ball-game (!) to the “Olympic” word and symbol. There, use is controlled mainly by a statute introduced especially to protect the five ring symbol and all related branding. In the UK, for example, the FIFA event has to rely on traditional copyright (protecting the special Japan/Korea World Cup logo and arguably the design of the cup itself), trade mark infringement (protecting whatever “World Cup” branding is registered for the relevant classes of goods and possibly beyond) and, warts and all, passing off.