12.14.2005 12:00 AM
Germany: Looking for Needed Economic Boost from World Cup
The World Cup soccer tournament could not come sooner, or to a more suitable location, if Germany has anything to say about it. And it does, since Deutschland is host to next spring's global sports spectacle. According to German and other European published reports, Germany is counting on the matches--the first to be widely broadcast in HD--to help pull the nation out of one of its worst economic downturns since World War II.

Hoping for a sort of rippling effect across German society and business, local and national German broadcasters and retailers are counting on those soccer fans who are gainfully employed (Germany's unemployment rate is still high) to go out and buy HD sets for the big event. Germany's PPV broadcaster, Premiere, is counting on the world's most-viewed sports tournament to be a model showcase for HD, thereby prompting its subscribers to pay premium fees both for packages of the matches, and for future HD fare, long after the matches are history.

German electronics stores like Metro, and manufacturers such as Sharp, Sony and Philips, have said in various forums that they expect to see noticeable sales increases prior to the games. (How "noticeable" is yet to be defined.)

The international match-ups already have contracted more than 20 "official" sponsors. And Budweiser (which is not the same brew as American Bud, by the way, although its brewer is Anheuser-Busch) will be the only beer allowed to be sold in stadiums, where HD monitors, large and small, will display the events for that tiny fraction of the world-wide audience that will actually attend the matches close up and personal.

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