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Last Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007, 12:36 GMT
Blatter tells firms: 'sell football product'
By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News, Johannesburg

Sepp Blatter at Soccerex 2007
Mr Blatter is welcoming new markets to the game.
The most powerful man in football has said that the beautiful game offers one of the best business products in the world - one which is fused with entertainment and emotional appeal.

And Fifa president Sepp Blatter told those who make their living from the game - selling products and services from artificial turf to television rights - that football business opportunities were forever growing.

Speaking at the Soccerex convention in Johannesburg he said: "The product is the game. It is a wonderful product.

"It is easy to understand, it is easy to play, and its rules have hardly changed. It is the game for our society."


More than 5,000 delegates from the international football fraternity, along with over 300 exhibitors from 90 countries, are at the first South African edition of the world's biggest business-to-business football exhibition.

When you look at which is the best product that we can offer businesses it is definitely the Fifa World Cup
Sepp Blatter

"Football is entertainment, but it is more than that, it is about emotions," Mr Blatter said.

"And that means we are 'in business', because to sell a product you need emotion, and if you are a good sales person then use the emotion of football to sell your products and services."

He said the football industry had been transformed over the past 50 years to make it the worldwide market it is today.

"It has been developed with television, and its second big partner is what are generally called sponsors, but which we call partners," Mr Blatter said.

"We want to have partners in our game, and everybody is involved in give and take.

"We try to offer partners a good product and football nowadays is a very good product.

Eyeing India

In return the partners swell Fifa's coffers as they stump up to have their names associated with the most popular game on the planet.

Mr Blatter said Fifa was breaking new ground in signing up their latest sponsor, or partner, for the next two World Cups.

India is a new market in football
Sepp Blatter

Indian software group Satyam will join global giants such as McDonalds and the US brewer Anheuser-Busch as one of six World Cup sponsors.

It is FIFA's first major sponsor from the country, after choosing it as its official IT services provider to the game's ruling body for the next seven years.

The size of the deal has not been disclosed.

"India is a new market in football, a market of more than one billion people. That's not bad!" Mr Blatter said.

"When you look at which is the best product that we can offer businesses it is definitely the Fifa World Cup."

And he said its attraction could be seen in the fact that many countries were looking to host the 2018 World Cup, putting their hats into the ring years before the 2010 event had been played.

"Is that not a sign that we are in a good business if you are in the football business?" he asked.

Mr Blatter also said the global football market, by Fifa's calculations, was one of over one billion people.

"So go into the huge global market for the game, take your products and activities to these one billion people, and at the end of the day you will have lots of orders."


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