The Business of the World Cup

The big numbers behind the world’s biggest sporting event

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The 2022 World Cup is the most expensive in history, costing host country Qatar an estimated $229 billion. Or nearly 5 times more than the price tags of the last seven World Cups combined. And you thought planning kids’ birthday parties was getting out of hand…

Here’s a look at some of the big numbers behind the sports world’s biggest tournament.

$500 million: How much Qatar’s dropped per week since “winning” its Word Cup bid. Where’d the money go? New stadiums, hotels, roads, a new railway system. Plus a Parisian desert oasis complete with Dior and Louis Vuitton outlets. One the world’s wealthiest nations (per capita) is banking on being front-and-center on the world stage being good for business.

Of course, looks can deceive.

$1.7 billion: What FIFA’s paying Qatar to cover the costs of running the month-long tourney, including prize money and operational expenses.

$7.5 billion: Expected revenue from the ‘22 Cup, which includes TV/sponsorship deals, plus ticket sales and merch —100% of which goes to FIFA, not the host country. Remind us why countries fight to host these things, again?

$1.025 billion: Cost for the US broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. $425M came from Fox, while Telemundo dropped $600M for Spanish-language rights. Still, considering over half the world’s population tuned in in 2018, those prices seems like a steal.

$75 million: The reported price tag for Budweiser’s sponsorship deal with FIFA, which gives it exclusive rights to sell beer at World Cup matches. …Or did, until Qatar announced it’d be banning beer sales just days before the tournament started.

Introducing Budweiser Zero, the official beer of game day…

$440 million: The total prize pool being paid out to the tournament’s 32 teams. Squads get $9M for making the group stage, with the winning country taking home a cool $42M this year. Plus all the Bud their fans can drink.

After Budweiser’s now-deleted tweet heard round the world: “Well, this is awkward”, the company followed up with this: “New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds. Who will get them?”

There is a LOT of Budweiser currently sitting un-drunk in storage in Qatar.

$812: The average ticket price for the finals match, up nearly 40% from 2018, making this the most expensive World Cup ever, in far more ways than one. Still, that ticket price seems downright reasonable compared to the Super Bowl, which remains in a league of its own…