So today is the start of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. As well as the accolade of being football World Champions and the inevitable life-long sponsorship spin-offs that could bring, there is a big of pot of gold for the winners of this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

The winning country receive a total of $31m (£18.7m) to their national football association while the runners-up will get $24m, semi-finalists $20m and the quarter-finalists $18m each. Not a bad return. Teams that reach just the second round will get $9m and even those eliminated in the group phase will receive $8m, so that’s just for turning up in South Africa. As well as this, each national team will have already received $1m from FIFA towards their “preparation costs” such as hotels, travel and training facilities.

They are the biggest payouts ever arranged for the tournament and if England do win there will be massive payouts in England too. Not from the prize-money handed out by FIFA but from the insurance policies a large number of retailers will have taken out to cover the possibility of England’s win. Electronics giant Toshiba have been offering ‘money-back if England win the world cup’ deals on TVs & PCs bought before the tournament, while electronics retailer Currys have been offering £10 back on TVs for every goal scored by England’s boys. If Capello’s men do win the tournament however, the retail sector would expect a noticeable rise in sales post World Cup on the back of the feel-good mood of the nation.

One nation not feeling that good about the tournament is the Republic of Ireland. After being eliminated in the play-offs for the final stages by a dubious goal from France (Remember Thierry Henry and that ‘handball’?) there is still some bitterness in the Emerald Isle. As ever though they have applied the Irish sense of humour to it. Taking a similar approach to its UK sister company, Currys in Ireland has adopted the slogan “When the French lose… the Irish win!” and is offering vouchers of up to €100 to TV buyers,  that can be redeemed when France exits the tournament. Meanwhile Pizza Hut in Ireland are offering a free pizza for every goal scored against the French for those signed up via their Facebook page (limited to 350 pizzas per goal).

As with every tournament there will be winners and losers but this time around with social media also taking a hold, it is good to see some novel marketing concepts coming to the fore too.

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