There may not be 23 elite sportsmen representing Hong Kong in the World Cup, but businesses across the territory are going through intensive preparations to capitalize on what is perhaps the most popular quadrennial global event.

The World Cup, which kicks off late Friday, has traditionally provided a boost to the economy with the extra consumption of beer and purchasing of soccer merchandise. With billions of fans glued to their screens around the world for a whole month, the World Cup is also an advertisers' dream: 30 billion viewers watched the last World Cup in 2002, and 2.78 million Hong Kong people tuned in to watch Germany play Brazil in the final.

Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, said his affiliated bars will make special arrangements for the next six weeks. "Four years ago, it was amazing, we were up by almost 40 percent. The streets were packed. It was a real event," Zeman said.
"This year, we've got decorations, we've got TVs in every bar, we've got World Cup jerseys, we've got staff around the street, and we have promotions with Carlsberg and Lan Kwai Fong beer. It's World Cup, it's party time."
This year, even a fantasy mouse has joined in the marketing opportunities.

"Football fever has hit Mickey Mouse in the first-ever specially designed World Cup collection," a recent Hong Kong Disneyland press release said. New merchandise will feature pictures of Mickey Mouse playing football printed on T-shirts, red and white footballs and coffee mugs.
Source : HK Standard News