The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting event of the year and the largest sports marketing exercise since the last World Cup.

It is also a lot more besides, a cultural battleground at times, a clash of east and west, a case study in the power of money, and the most controversial sporting competition since the apartheid days in South Africa.

Our job is to bring the stories of what is happening off the field of play to the attention of our Sport for Business readers.

HANDS OVER MOUTHS BUT NOT SEEN LIVE

Germany took one step further than other European countries yesterday by covering their mouths in the traditional pre-match team photograph. The shots are not carried live though and the host broadcast team did not show them to the watching world.

It had been felt beforehand that German Captain Manuel Neuer might wear the One Love armband but that did not happen.

Each team though still has two games to make a stand and a statement that will ring out louder than any of the goals scored at this World Cup.

Even if the Germans took it to the next level and raised their hands to their mouths for the singing of the National Anthem, which is shown live, or wore rainbow boots or rainbow laces or something. It should not be beyond the imagination. It should not be left as it is.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore an armband in the stadium yetsterday.

CLEANING UP

Japanese fans have a reputation for polite behaviour and even in their moment of glory beating Germany yesterday, they still took time to pick up any litter that had been left behind in their area of the stadium in Doha.

It’s a thing that takes place regularly, it costs nothing but it leaves a warm glow about the fans and their nation.

Maybe that crown of ‘Best fans in the World’ should be handed over to them for the duration of the World Cup.

PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY

The Morocco Croatia and Belgium-Canada games were not great but Spain and Japan made up for it with a seven-goal feast and a win over Germany.

The honour though goes to Spain who held a World Cup record 81.8 percent of possession, attempted 1,043 passes, and scored from seven of their eight shots on target.

FOX DOUBLES AD COST FOR USA – ENGLAND

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in the United States, traditionally one of the highest viewership weekends for NFL games, and this year with the added bonus of the USA vs England in the SoccerBall World Cup.

The game will be shown live on the FOX TV network with a 2 PM Eastern kick-off time and the Network has doubled the asking price for a 30 second ad to $600,000. Black Friday viewers are at a premium it would seem.

TODAY’S SPONSOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT – BETANO

Quietly enough it has been announced that FIFA has added Betano, an online gambling company as an official European partner for the World Cup.

This is the first time that a betting company has been so closely associated with the tournament or with FIFA.

You won’t see them as often as Adidas on the LED boards but they will appear in limited fashion during games involving European teams and they have the right now to use official World Cup branding on their services.

If you look closely as well you will see the brand pop up on the interview boards behind the players at the end of a game in which one of the European teams has been involved.

These third-tier partnerships are agreed by region and also include Visit Las Vegas in the North American Region.