July 4 2018

Business Goals - Heiße Duelle, kühles Bier/ Hot matches, cool beer

Germany, FIFA World Cup

Please find the English translation of the column below.

Heute erscheint der sechsteTeil der Netzathleten Kolumne von Dennis Trautwein, Vice President von Octagon Germany über die WM 2018.

Diesen finden Sie auf der Netzathleten Seite hier.


04 Jul 2018 Dennis Trautwein

England claims victory over its World Cup curse and wins on penalty kicks –an indicator by itself that this World Cup continues to surprise. A few days ago, even the favorited Spaniards had to head home. To experience the enthusiasm after Sborjana’s win first hand was something special. For three years, I’ve tried in vain to convince my Russian colleagues that they have to believe in their own team – 120 minutes last Sunday and Igor Akinfeev’s left foot apparently were much more successful than me. You usually only see motorcades and people dancing in the streets of Moscow after a huge success of the hockey team.

So we get to look forward to dramatic matches in the quarter- and semifinals even without German participation. For a lot of fans, part of the TV experience is of course one or two cool beers. That’s no different over here at the stadium or at one of the fan fests. At home you get your cool blonde out of your fridge or your cooler in your backyard. But how does a fan do it at the stadium? Behind this perceived standard is a procedure that has been optimized over years, in combination with long dialogues and negotiations between various service providers, suppliers and rights holders at FIFA. The official World Cup beer supplier and exclusive partner of FIFA is the brewery conglomerate AB InBev (with global brands such as Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois) – one of our customers at this World Cup. And indeed, for them the question is: How do we get the beer to the stadium and above all, how does it stay cool there? Because a warm beer and a negative consumption experience for the fan at the stadium is an absolute disaster for the respective beer partner. In such a case we’d immediately have a marketing problem, because if a customer cannot present its product the way it is supposed to reach the consumer, any campaign about its consumption is utterly useless. Lukewarm beer would hurt the image of the brand tremendously.

In Russia, serving beer at stadiums is prohibited by law, but during the World Cup there is an exception in place. FIFA always negotiates this with the host country in advance and is dictating a Food & Beverage program that defines all relevant questions in detail: Which products are available onsite, what is sold at stadiums, what at fan fests, where are the boundaries of the exclusive service area, just to name a few examples.

Until the beer reaches the stadium, we have rather limited touchpoints with contractual partners. With the process and touchpoints at the stadium and in its close vicinity however, we are very familiar with, since this is now our third World Cup with AB InBev. In Russia, we are supporting the so-called Stadium Concessions Program, the sale onsite.

Of course, the customer is the expert and crucial in his area of expertise. But especially in a market like Russia, where processes of this scale usually don’t exist, since they are forbidden – and that will be no different in Qatar in 2022 – there is a lot of past experience on our side that we can utilize to consult and facilitate. This is beneficial for the concessionaire on the ground, who has to find its way in the very special, but to us familiar, FIFA environment.

What does distribution and logistics look like? Can products be delivered to the stadium? Is cooling and replenishment guaranteed? What about storage areas, are they dry enough and set to the right temperature? Is enough personnel onsite for match day? The checklist is long, very long, and behind each item, there is a lot of work. The staff briefing is vitally important. The recruited Bud salespeople in their Bud outfits cannot serve Coke products, for example.

Until all processes and players are aligned, a lot of rehearsals are necessary. There are multiple test phases, e.g. during the Confed Cup, the year prior to the World Cup. While it is much smaller, it is still a great and important indicator, how these processes are running and what’s working well and what needs to be adjusted. In the end, it is about a lot of beer that is being sold at the World Cup – in 2014 that was over 3 million units at the stadiums. Football fans are thirsty!

Whether with a cool beer or a different beverage in your hand: I hope we will experience great quarter- and semifinal matches. I’ll get back to you prior to the final, talking about the development of world football and other interesting topics. Until then!



Dennis Trautwein



About Dennis Trautwein:

The football World Cup in Germany in 2006 was Dennis Trautwein’s personal ‘Sommermärchen’ (summer fairy tale) – the first World Cup experience for the then 26-year-old. His job at the World Cup Organizing Committee was the perfect entry into his career – and a lasting one. World Cups were going to play a major role for the now 38-year-old upon his start with Octagon Germany in 2007. His strategic focus was on the following FIFA World Cups in 2010, 2014 – and of course now the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Dennis Trautwein is one of the leading sport marketing experts in this country – and an absolute connoisseur of the scene.