German media company EM.TV & Merchandising, which less than a year ago stood on the verge of collapse [WAMN: 01-May-01], revealed Thursday it had won the European merchandising rights for the 2006 soccer World Cup, to be held in Germany.

EM.TV purchased the licence for an undisclosed sum from FIFA Marketing, a unit of the sport’s global governing body FIFA, which organises the tournament.

Under the deal, the Munich-headquartered firm gains rights to develop, produce and market such offerings as T-shirts, caps, flags and pens bearing the World Cup logo. It will also sell FIFA merchandise within stadia and manage World Cup shops.

“The purchase gives EM.TV the chance of reaching a leading position in the worldwide sport-merchandising market,” the company declared. Although it would not comment on the sales potential of the deal, the last World Cup in France in 1998 generated around $1.2 billion (€1.4bn; £0.8bn) from merchandising.

EM.TV will commence negotiations with possible partners such as retailers and fast food chains after this year’s tournament in Japan and South Korea draws to a close.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff