The 2012 Euro Cup is Big International Business

Category: Culture

How much do you know about the 2012 Euro Cup? Why don’t we start with the basics: it’s the European championship for national football teams (a.k.a. soccer for those of you deeply rooted in American English). But you knew at least that much, didn’t you? After all, World Cup 2010 demonstrated that soccer has scored serious goals with U.S. viewers, an indication of an increasingly global mindset.

The Euro Cup is a pretty apt metaphor for the incredible growth opportunities in international markets. With 1.4 million tickets up for grabs for 2012, over 12 million “applications” for the hotly contested spots were received, representing a 17% increase over the 2008 Euro Cup.

Poland and Ukraine, this year’s combined hosts for the 31 matches, built five new stadiums and upgraded three existing stadiums to handle the load, while also improving their transportation infrastructure. All told, 150 million people were expected to watch the competition broadcasts each day. For the 2016 Euro Cup, the number of teams competing will blossom from 16 to 24, bringing even more viewers into the media arena.

As we progress towards the finals on July 1st, it’s worth noting that a competition which is rabidly followed by millions globally is more or less a sporting footnote in the U.S. The message for business should be clear: the fiscal future is in global markets.

Hyundai didn’t miss the message. In the run-up to the 2012 Euro Cup, the automaker hosted a slogan contest for each of the 16 countries represented. Slogans were pitched by fans and the winners decided by online votes. The winning slogan for each country was wrapped on the country’s official team bus.

It’s interesting to see the variety of slogans rendered in such a wide array of languages, and even more captivating to see the slogans translated into English. Each is like a small window into the culture of the country’s fan base and a good opportunity to reflect on why localization is a key component of expanding your company overseas. Compare, for instance, Germany and Spain contrasted to the European hosts, Poland and Ukraine:

Germany:

Von Spiel zu Spiel zum großen Ziel!

From game to game to the big aim!

 

Spain:

Un motivo para vivir, una razón para soñar. ¡Viva España!

A reason to live, a reason to dream. ¡Viva España!

 

Poland:

Razem niemożliwe staje się możliwe!

Together, impossible becomes possible!

 

Ukraine:

Українці – наш час настав!

Ukrainians, it’s our time!

 

All aspire to victory, but the subtle differences in the way the desire for victory is pitched is in many ways indicative of each team’s cultural relationship to the Euro Cup. Indeed, it’s the first time the cup has been hosted in an Eastern European venue, and you can hear the tone of hopeful underdogs rallying for glory against the more life-and-death victors of past tournaments. (A full showcase of the 16 slogans may be found on the UEFA website.

If you miss the excitement of this year’s cup, don’t worry. You have plenty of time to prepare for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and even more for the 2016 Euro. What about your business? When will you bring it to a great international venue? 

Photo attribution: Bronski Beat