World Cup 2018: A unique business tool

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Philip Fisher
Columnist
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Whether you like football or not, the impending World Cup will present some welcome business generation opportunities, not to mention a unique chance to bond with colleagues.

Depending upon your tastes, the next month could be heaven or hell. There is no doubt that our TV screens will be overwhelmed by football coverage and punditry 24/7. However, if past tournaments are anything to go by and our national team enjoys its usual level of success, the enthusiasm could dissipate within a couple of weeks.

From both a business and social perspective, the World Cup is important. Many clients will be eager to talk about the tournament, and since Britain has become an international melting pot, you might benefit by doing some research on almost every country that has qualified, thus putting yourself in a position to have an intelligent conversation with a Russian oligarch or Belgian Eurocrat.

There seems little doubt that many firms will have invested heavily in entertainment opportunities connected to the tournament. While few will go to the trouble of taking clients across to Russia to view games live, events in the office to amuse staff and/or clients and at rather swankier venues, possibly involving fine dining and 100 inch TV screens are likely to be proving popular during the latter weeks of June and, if the miracle occurs, even more so in the first couple of weeks of July, conceivably culminating in a repeat of 1966.

Since we are always looking for opportunities to enter into dialogue with clients, aficionados will benefit by taking time out to make contact with those that share their love of “beautiful game”. A quick text celebrating a victory or a call to relive those closing moments of an epic match will probably go down well and might just lead to additional work.

As a corollary, there is a risk that many readers who have no interest in football will have turned off already. Ignoring them would be a shame since they too can take advantage of the country’s obsession.

If you find football tedious and hate the jingoism of drunken England fans, do not despair. Take some time out to discover when big games are going to be played. Having done so, you can rule out a visit to any pub or restaurant that has a TV screen, since these will be filled with screeching diehards behaving atrociously.

However, if you want to take a client whose antipathy to football is as great as your own out for the kind of entertainment that is never usually available this could be the best opportunity for the next four years.

There is every chance that tickets for Hamilton or Harry Potter will mysteriously become available at rock bottom prices, given that they will have been booked years ahead by people who would prefer to see their team sinking to defeat. On the art front, Picasso 1932 at Tate Modern is by far the best exhibition of that artist’s work that you are ever likely to see, while the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in the newly spruced up building will also be much quieter than usual. Similarly, mid-evening tables at The Ivy or a Gordon Ramsay Michelin-starred alternative will mysteriously be readily available.

An alternative is to concentrate on business matters when there will be far fewer interruptions than usual. If by any chance the Prime Minister is reading this article, this could be the perfect opportunity to pull a fast one on her most implacable opponents, Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and David Davis [Editor’s note – should that read Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Keir Starmer or even the dreaded Michel Barnier?].

Whatever their tastes, I trust that all readers will enjoy the World Cup month, whether they be avid spectators or unwitting beneficiaries of its secondary advantages.

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