Berlin’s “Cup” Runneth Over
By Dorothea S. Michelman
Fifteen years after hosting the party commemorating Germany’s re-unification, Berlin will host another convergence of global and cultural import. In 1991, Germany celebrated the formal dissolution of the artificial border that separated East from West, an artificial incision that sliced right through the heart of its former and current capital, Berlin. Once again, borders and boundaries are blurred, as Germany, and Berlin in particular, play host to the premier event in all of national team sports, soccer’s World Cup and the whole planet is on the guest list. Nationals and aficionados, unified by a kinship rooted in a reverence for a sport played the world over, will turn their sights to Germany for four weeks from June 9 to July 9, 2006.
The prestige in “landing” the World Cup is undeniable. No single athletic endeavor elicits the fervor and pride that does the quadrennial clash of soccer titans that will fix the world’s rapt attention on Germany this summer. Six matches, the quarterfinals, and the championship game will be played in Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
Twelve cities in Germany — Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Cologne, Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern, Stuttgart, Nueremberg, Munich and Leipzig–
will be hosting games featuring qualifying teams from each of the soccer-playing continents (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America). Kick-off of the first World Cup game in Berlin is scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, when Brazil and Croatia square off. Two days later Paraguay and Sweden compete in Berlin, Tuesday, June 20, Ecuador and the host nation’s lace up, followed by a game on Friday, June 23rd between Ukraine and Tunisia. The quarterfinals are slated to take place June 30th. The championship game wraps up the month long soccer celebration, crowning a new World Champion, Saturday July 9,2006.
Some 5.5 million guests, roughly 3.2 million of them soccer fans, are expected to visit Germany during the World Cup. They will be joined by 15,000 media representatives. An estimated three billion viewers will join them from home from in front of their television sets.
In promoting the event, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) will be preparing an integrated television, radio and print campaign with a glossy, four-color “lifestyle” magazine, GOAL, to be inserted in high circulation newspapers across the United States.
For those who yearn to revel in the dash for international soccer bragging rights firsthand, tickets to the games can be purchased from the 2006 FIFA (International Soccer Federation) World Cup Ticketing Center. Seventy percent 2.6 million tickets have already been distributed via lottery system. Information on accommodations and tournament details can be found on www.fifaworldcup.com
The U.S. Team will be based in Hamburg for the duration of the World Soccer Cup. Information: www.Ha,mburg-tourism.de
Germany’s 12 host cities and many other towns in Germany will be presenting special theater events, concerts, exhibitions and parties, before, during and after the World Soccer Cup from June 9th to July 9th this year.
FIFA is planning an open-air concert on July 7, 2006 at the “Grosser Stern” in the Berlin Tiergarten featuring U2.
The festive atmosphere is enhanced by the fact that all non-commercial organizations, including schools, sportsclubs and 16,000 Evangelical churches among them, have permission to show the 64 matches free of charge.
Here are some of the Public viewing areas and fan festivals. Berlin -the area around the Reichstag; Dortmund – Friedensplatz; Cologne – Roncalliplatz; Frankfurt – banks
of the Main; Gelsenkirchen – Glückauf Arena. There even is an Internet site for fans by fans: www.fanguide2006.org
The U.S. Soccer Federation will offer billboard campaigns in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago. GNTO will be reaching out to the Spanish language media and with presentations in the U.S.A. and Mexico.
For further information, please contact:
Berlin Tourism Marketing North America
2934-1/2 Beverly Glen Circle #323
Los Angeles, CA 90077
tel. (818)385-0631 | Fax: (818)385-0632