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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
Boogie nights venture for World Cup
By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News, Munich

This year's football World Cup provides the opportunity for major global brands - who have paid Fifa handsomely for the chance to be one of the event's sponsors - to reap the benefits of their investment.

German nightclub
The place where dance fever meets World Cup fever

By hitching their names to the tournament, large firms such as Coca-Cola, Yahoo, Adidas and McDonald's can increase sales and engage new customers through competitions and promotions, as well as increasing global awareness of their brands.

And for other firms apart from these 15 "partners", the World Cup offers the opportunity, once every four years, for companies of all shapes and sizes to win sales and presence on the back of the world's most popular sport.

But there is another, equally important opportunity to make deals, build reputations and contacts, and thank previous customers - through corporate hospitality.

The 30-day tournament provides the perfect environment for firms' representatives to schmooze while the football provides a top-notch backdrop.

We don't bar anyone from coming to one of our parties, it is for everyone, but yes, it is a little bit exclusive
Sascha Wolff,

The official Commercial Hospitality Programme, says Fifa, "combines some of the best seats in the stadiums together with excellent cuisine, hosting services, special gifts and entertainment".

Only Swiss firm ISE is allowed to sell these official packages. However, one enterprising German businessman believes he has found a way to make a profit after spotting a niche opening in the hospitality field.

Sascha Wolff
Sascha Wolff: From golf days to keeping World Cup VIPs refreshed
Sascha Wolff has gambled that those well-heeled corporate and VIP visitors attending each of the 64 World Cup games will be looking to boogie on down once the final whistle has blown.

Mr Wolff has launched WM Nights (Weltmeisterschaft being German for World Cup) and is staging a major nightclub event for every match in the 12 German towns and cities hosting the World Cup.

"We are targeting Fifa sponsors and their people and guests, as well as other companies and sectors, such as banks, which might be using ISE services to entertain clients," he told the BBC News website.

"We want to be a very distinct concept - we are not ambush marketing, as we do not say on our material that we are officially linked to the World Cup.

"We feel we have secured the best nightclubs in each town and city."

Elvis in the building?

Mr Wolff has hired a major nightclub in each World Cup venue city, and is now hoping his gamble will pay off. Tickets cost 200 euros per person for each event, plus VAT, and each venue can hold up to 500 people.

Admission price includes free drinks and buffet. Mr Wolff hopes to attract musicians and entertainers to his events, including some top Elvis Presley impersonators. There is even a shuttle service to take guests home after the event.

Mr Wolff is also hoping to attract local celebrities and members of the German media to his evenings, while he is also looking to attract TV coverage of his most high-profile WM nights.

Additional packages are available for firms, with prices reduced for the purchase of 10 or more tickets and the chance to obtain a branding presence with the nightclub.

German beauty queen with wines chosen for matches at Bavarian World Cup venues
World Cup 2006 will combine football, finance and hospitality

Mr Wolff says he hopes to attract an average of at least 300 people to each of his events, with those after lesser-ranked games, such as Ecuador v Costa Rica, perhaps being harder to promote than those for top games, such as England v Sweden.

Mr Wolff founded business leisure organisation Calando, which employs eight people, in Munich five years ago.

Since then, the 39-year-old former employee of the Axel Springer publishing house has gained much experience of organising corporate-friendly businesses.

"I established a wine magazine, a wine club and a wine sales business," he says.

"I then got more interested in the exclusive side of things and, with Calando, started organising entertainment, travel and activity days for executives and business people."

Activities included vintage car rallies, golf tournaments, classical concerts, wine tasting, a city trip and adventure activities.

It also runs a club community and dining club, to allow its members to come together and enjoy "quality time" with "quality people".

'Hottest nightclubs'

As a result, Mr Wolff's previous ventures may not have prepared him for encounters with some of the more rumbustious followers of England, Holland or Germany, for example.

"We don't bar anyone from coming to one of our parties, it is for everyone, but yes, it is a little bit exclusive," he says, before adding that security at the clubs will be good and that there is "no place for hooligans".

WM Nights logo
Hooligans need not apply

"If someone travels to Germany for the football, it is a chance for them to have a party with people who have the same interests.

"We think we will be the most exclusive after-game VIP event series during the World Cup. We have the hottest nightclubs.

"It don't think I have taken a risk, rather it is a very exciting time and I think being associated with the World Cup means our venture will be successful."

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