World Cup, marketing and national consumption in Germany: more fussball and more Feierabendbier!

Mr Ulrich Keller

Posted: June 25, 2014

Germany vs. Portugal, Monday, June 20, 2014, 18.00, Anpfiff, or kick-off: CR7, Nani, Almeida, Pepe and seven other Portuguese stars are playing and German nerves want to be reassured. Granted, Germany won against them in 2006, but there’s always time to grab a Bier. Germany scores two goals. Awesome. Pils, anyone? 18.45, Halbzeitpause and Germany is leading 3-0, how relaxing. Let’s grab another cold one. Zweite Halbzeit: Schrecksekunde! Hummels is injured. 11 Germans vs. 10 Portuguese. Zät should work. 19:50, Abfiff and Germany wins 4-0. What a start. Are we in Brazil? No. Does it matter? No! There’s always a reason to grab a few!

During the World Cup 2006 in Germany beer consumption massively increased. As an example, the family brewery Bischoff from Rheinland-Pfalz (close to the football- and World Cup 2006-host city Kaiserslautern) created a beer named after the German football legend Fritz Walter. Already in June 2006 they sold as many units as they expected to sell in the entire year. Other major breweries were facing bottlenecks. Production workers had to work extra hours in order to meet the demand of the beer-consuming fans.

Although this year’s beer consumption in Germany during the World Cup may not increase to such a high extent as compared to 2006, it is still of vital importance for German beer breweries. Football is a strong revenue- driver for breweries. Therefore, it is not surprising that Bitburger continues sponsoring the German national team. This partnership between the German brewery and the national team already exists for 20 years, and Bitburger surely has good reasons for engaging this intensively in football.

Although overall beer consumption is expected to decrease in Germany over the next 15 years, it is out of question for most Germans not to drink a beer when watching a football game. Bier und Bratwurst are probably considered the most important essentials for enjoying a game. Drinking beer before, during and after the game is a deeply rooted German tradition. Jawohl! Football and beer simply belong together. In stronger words, refusing a beer from a friend during a game is probably the best way of ruining a friendship.

The world’s largest LED screen for public viewing during this year’s World Cup is in the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. And yes, we will be there. The stadium has capacity for 45.000 people. That’s stadium atmosphere. It is not a secret that beer will be the most sold item in the stadium in terms of food and beverages. Most visitors will consume at least one beer during the game.

When looking at the commercial leaflets of German supermarkets, there is a very high chance that the cover page will display the current World Cup beer specials. The second page will probably show an irresistible deal on a World Cup promotion for buying TV screen and projectors. Why? Because inviting friends to watch the game on an inadequate device is an absolute no-go, same as offering warm beer. Nein! In the eyes of many Germans the Weltmeisterschaft is a good reason for finally upgrading the TV device.

Overall, GfK expert Rolf Bürkl argues that consumption is likely to increase for TVs, beer, sweets and Grillsachen (German for everything related to BBQing). [1] Let’s see if this year will be a new Sommermärchen (German for summer’s tale) not only for German football, but also for the national economy.

Marketing across the globe is flourishing. The Brazilian WC is only positively reinforcing this trend: the event is expected to add EUR 1.11 billion to global advertising spending[2]. For example, Germany’s Adidas and Nike (USA) have ‘always’ been in a fierce “battle for soccer supremacy”[3], but the Cup intensified. The majority of this extra marketing-related capital injection occurs in Latin America. Central Europe and North America score second and third respectively. What happens in ze German Fazerland? As stated above, marketers run special TV sale promotions. TV-based advertising assumes a prime position. The majority of companies run fully, or at least partly integrated campaigns. The German marketing landscape is dominated by the WC: World Cup beverage and food specials, attire, car editions, (female) cosmetics and beauty products, and male shower and shaving versions, adult electronics and children candy, snacks and toys. And also traditionally WC- or football-unrelated items all over sudden experience a WC-linking. And what makes the news? FIFA bans WC athletes from wearing Dr. Dre’s and Apple’s Beats (headphones). Why? Because Sony officially sponsors the 2014 FIFA WC? For years, Dr. Dre’s, and as of late also Apple’s company has supplied the globe’s top-sportsmen with Beats headphones. Free of charge.Winning marketing that works. Beats became cool.As far as we’re informed, Sony also provided their prime headphones to WC-athletes – with little success. Yes, WC sportsmen might not wear their Beats during official FIFA events, but does a FIFA dictated marketing message not lose some of its credibility? Yes – at least in the short-run. And no, in the long-run.

Regardless, thanks to the 2014 World Cup and (at least as of now) a solid performance of the German national team, German domestic consumption is up. This trend is likely to continue if die Nationalelf will make it far, or even win the tournament. A correlated increase in TV, mobile, online and print-media marketing and consumer spending is witnessed.

GfK: Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, Germany’s largest market research institute



[1] Die Welt, 2014.

[2]Jake, 2014.

[3]Reuters, 2014.

IDie Welt. "Fußball-WM Könnte Konsum Zusätzlich Beleben." Die Welt., 27 May 2014. Web. 20 June 2014

IIMitchel, Jake. "World Cup a $1.6b Advertising Bonanza." The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 2014. Web. 20 June 2014 "Adidas and Nike Battle for Soccer Supremacy in World Cup Year." Reuters, 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.

About Ulrich Keller

Ulrich Keller (MSc and LLM) is a Research Coordinator and Project Manager for a multiparty industrial pricing excellence project. He holds Elite and Excellence degrees and is a Doctoral Candidate. Ulrich’s expertise centers on sports economics, managerial economics, branding, marketing and (dynamic) pricing. He has consulted on various high-profile international pricing, sports and event projects.