World Cup business is booming at the street market in the Newton district of Johannesburg. Fans are flocking to pick up shirts, scarves and anything else they need to show their support in the stadium.
Soaring sales may only last as long as the fiesta continues. But enduring benefits may come from South Africa’s improved infrastructure. And some here say the tournament is reinforcing communtiy ties.
“The World Cup for me is something that is really bringing South Africans together,” said one man.
“I just wish that my African brothers could see the other side of living together, instead of fighting.”
But the party spirit is being put to the test by the host nation’s disappointing results. Another man said Bafana Bafana’s failure to win meant “people are down, now.”
One week into the World Cup, advertising professionals are also weighing up the consequences of South Africa’s results. The huge Ogilvy agency has worked on many Fifa projects.
“I don’t think FIFA are deeply interested in the South African dream, as much as they are in selling tickets,” said Jonathan Beggs, Creative Director of Ogilvy Johannesburg.
“The tickets have been sold, so their job is done. Now the thing has to run smoothly. The stadiums have to be full, and there has to be security, there has to be coverage and all of that stuff. But as far as following up on the dream, I don’t think FIFA are now going to say they must change their World Cup communications. It is more South African brands that have rallied behind Bafana that will have to change their communication agenda.”
Whatever the home team’s record, one simple fact remains. The biggest sporting event on earth is being staged on African soil for the first time. And that is a winning formula!