Comment – The World Cup? It's not all that
As the end of the domestic football season draws near, many a football fan, wherever they may be, will start to broaden his or her support, and look to the World Cup in June.
Indeed, it's not just footie fans that are getting excited at the thought of South Africa 2010. The brewers of the world are also rubbing their hands, smacking their lips and practising their chants.
Historically, when a global brewer has produced a grim set of quarterly, half-year or full-year results, the two main excuses trotted out are bad weather and cycling a large football tournament. Throw in the downturn of the last 18 months, and you'll understand why this summer is seen by many brewers as the most crucial selling period in recent memory.
A note today (7 April) from our friends at analysts Sanford Bernstein, however, serves to bring those hopes back to earth with quite a thud.
Host nations in the past have provided brewers with a bumper month in previous tournaments – witness South Korea in 2002 and France in 1998. Not only does the hype grab the nation, but the performance of the home team drives punters to the bar time and again.
South Africa, however? Well, worry number one is that this year's tournament is taking place in the home country's winter. Chuck in the fact that the South African team are the second lowest ranked team in the tournament - 81st in the FIFA rankings.
And don't count on away fans to drink your barrels dry either. Air fares to South Africa are notoriously expensive at the best of times – you're looking at at least GBP750 (US$1,150) return from London – an 11-hour flight – in October. Flights leading up to the World Cup, then, are most likely to be beyond the budget of those watching their pennies at the moment.
Ah well, at least we can count on spectator nations. Can't we? Not according to Sanford Bernstein, who note that, while beer volumes may indeed rise during a tournament, the 'hangover' kicks in quite soon after, leading to as dramatic a trough as there was a peak.
“Using monthly data from the UK, June beer volumes were 5% greater in World Cup and European Championship years than in years without an event,” the analyst says. “However, in July beer volumes are 3.5% lower in event years compared to non-event years.”
Here's hoping your home team plays well, at least, Mr Brewer.
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