The greatest show on Earth is underway in Russia, as 32 nations from every continent battle it out to be crowned the best team in the world. At the end of it all, we’ll see joyous images from the streets of one nation as their captain lifts the trophy high above their head, the pinnacle of their career. As we all know, there can only be one winner. But what most of us don’t realise is that winner has already been crowned.
FIFA, the international governing body that organises is the World Cup, will be the ones to benefit most from a World Cup. Commentators will talk about the joy and hope that the it brings to various nations and how it can be a catalyst for growth and change in some countries, and this may be true but FIFA will be the only part coming out of this World Cup with genuine happiness, laughing all the way to the bank.
The World Cup has aligned itself with seven primary sponsors, a Chinese property company, Wanda, as well as Adidas, Coca Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai, Qatar Airways and Visa. Bringing in a combined revenue of £1.08 billion, this World Cup won’t be the most successful in terms of revenue generated but it will still signal a success for the corruption ridden organisation.
Following an investigation on former president Sepp Blatter and UEFA leader Michel Platini on charges of corruption, FIFA’s revenue has dropped by 10%, as numerous sponsors decided to cut ties. However, since then Asian companies have stepped into the gaps left behind and now account for 39 percent of deals with FIFA at this World Cup.
Previous forecasts about loss of revenue all seem to be wide of the mark, viewership figures, licencing revenue and sponsorship have all increased. Mostly down to an influx of money from China. While more than 3.4 billion people are expected to tune into games throughout the tournament, an increase from 3.2 billion that watched the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
With figures looking a bit better than expected, FIFA will be safe in the knowledge that no matter how corrupt they are, the world still loves football. With a decision made to grant USA, Canada and Mexico hosting rights in 2026, the American brands that jumped shipped will be sure to come flocking back and help to improve FIFA’s coffers.