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Lisa Napoli: This weekend more than 3,000 people will be in Durban, South Africa, to witness the preliminary draw for the next men’s soccer World Cup. This lottery is a big deal in the global sports world. It determines who plays who in qualifying matches over the next two years. And Gretchen Wilson reports from Johannesburg, there’s money to be made.
Gretchen Wilson: Sunday’s draw for qualifying groups will be broadcast live to 144 countries. Nail-chewing fans will watch to see if their country’s team will meet stiff competition in a so-called “group of death.”
The world’s media industry will watch, too, because a lot of money’s at stake. Globally, TV networks will spend more than $2 billion on broadcast rights for this World Cup. And Sunday’s draw gives networks an idea of how much they can demand from advertisers in specific games.
It will also give national broadcasters an idea of the calendar their national team will face in the qualifying phase, and whether they have a good chance to make it to South Africa in 2010. That’s when ad dollars multiply.
Not surprising, during the final phase of last year’s men’s world cup in Germany, each match had a cumulative average of 260 million viewers.
In Johannesburg, I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.
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