The 2006 World Cup, soccer’s Super Bowl, World Series and Olympics rolled-up into one, is just two months away. Because it only takes place every four years, advertisers pay huge sums to be the official whatever of the games. This year the World Cup will be held in Germany, one of the most important beer countries in the world, which until quite recently had more breweries than any other country (The U.S. unseated them) and they remain the third largest beer market worldwide (after China and the U.S.). They passed the first beer purity law in 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, and fought to keep beer out of their country that didn’t meet its standards as recently as a few years ago. So it came as quite a shock last year when Budweiser became the offical beer of the 2006 World Cup by paying around $40 million to become one of fifteen premium World Cup sponsors. German citizens were up in arms for a while after that, but since their young people have short-sightedly started drinking Bud in rebellion against their parents — and tradition — in huge quantities, there wasn’t reallly much that could be done about it. According to a report on The Independent, a UK newspaper, “because of a long-running trademark row with the Czech brewer Budvar, which owns the rights to the name” Budweiser in some countries and Anheuser-Busch, which has won court battles in others, “the Budweiser brand will not appear on the hugely important pitch-side hoardings.” In addition to the contentious Budvar—A-B dispute, “the German brewery Bitburger, who sells its beer in the German stadiums, has complained that the name was too similar to its Bit brand.” As a result, “[t]he US giant has now been forced to use the name Anheuser-Busch Bud during the course of the tournament.” Of course, the A-B spin machine kicked into high gear, calling this an “excellent opportunity to continue to build our brand,” said Tony Ponturo, vice-president of global media and sports marketing at Anheuser-Busch. The World Cup begins June 9 and will end with the cup final on July 9. Personally, I think this is what happens when you sue everybody who gets in your way. Eventually, it’s going to catch up with you.