Polygram and World CupUSA, the soccer promotion organization, announced a joint venture Monday to promote the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament with concerts, albums and homevideos.
The joint venture’s events and merchandise will be produced and financed by Polygram, according to Joe Smith, executive producer of entertainment activities for World Cup USA. In return, Polygram will receive royalties from the homevideo sales. World Cup USA is a nonprofit organization that will dispense monies to two charities, the Children’s Defense Fund, which deals with battered and abandoned children, and UNICEF.
The World Cup will be played in 1994, with preliminary rounds in nine U.S. cities and the final game in Los Angeles.
Polygram Filmed Entertainment Intl. prexy Stewart Till told a London press conference Monday he could not put a precise value on the multiple deals with the World Cup USA 1994 organizing committee, but said millions of dollars would be spent acquiring rights and producing and packaging the events and videos. According to one insider, the deal is worth close to $ 20 million.
“We will spend the money to get it right,” Till said. Smith described the partnership with Polygram as one of the “most innovative sports/entertainment ventures ever conceived.”
“Polygram’s global network is a perfect match for the 1994 World Cup games,” said World Cup USA chairman Alan Rothenberg.
Polygram and World Cup USA will team for at least three live music events featuring acts with international appeal, with the concerts to be televised worldwide. The first event will be held in Las Vegas in December, with a show in Chicago preceding the first game to be held in June 1994. A New York show in July is also on tap. No acts have been announced for the concerts.
Trio of tenors
The night before the final game in Los Angeles will feature a concert teaming Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, the three opera tenors who have released several joint products through Polygram.
Security concerns at the concerts will be addressed by the World Cup personnel, who will also oversee security at the game sites, Smith said.
An album of official World Cup music is also anticipated by next spring, with an official theme song to be commissioned. No acts have committed to the project , according to Smith.
Homevideos will be released over the next 18 months leading up to the final game next July. The videos will be geared to familiarize Americans with soccer and the World Cup games. The venture will also produce and distribute a highlight video of the games, with a street date set for days after the final. The video products will be produced by Michael Weisman Prods. and Sunset and Vine Prods.
Asked about the likelihood of success of the album, given the dismal track record of Olympic-themed products, the former Warner Bros. Records and Capitol Records topper said, “If it has a couple of hits, we will have a successful album. We will get enough major stars to contribute. If we put together a great album, we have a shot.”