No other event on earth comes remotely close to the World Cup in terms of viewership, attendance, talent, nationalism, and sheer magic. The World Cup is the ultimate celebration and dramatization of the beautiful game.
The economics of the World Cup also add up to an equally dizzying spectacle. The 2022 Qatar World Cup is the most expensive of all time. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
- $220 billion: The estimated cost of what Qatar spent on infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.
- $42 million: The prize money awarded to the team that wins it all. FIFA allows each team to decide what share of the purse players receive.
- $30 million: Prize money for the runners-up.
- $9 million: The amount each team gets just for qualifying for the World Cup.
- $60 million: The reported annual value of Nike’s deal to sponsor the French Football Federation. Nike has deals of various sizes with 13 nations in the 32-team field, the most of any apparel brand.
- $128 million: The highest-paid player is France’s Kylian Mbappé, who’ll make $110 million on the field this year through his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, and another $18 million off the field.
- $209 million: The amount that soccer clubs around the world receive from a fund set aside by FIFA to reward them for developing players who play in the tournament for their national teams.
- $277 million: The widely reported amount David Beckham was paid by Qatar to serve as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup, paid out in installments over 10 years.
- $440 million: The total prize pool for the 2022 World Cup, up from $400 million in 2018.
- $1.7 billion: The costs covered by FIFA for this year’s World Cup (prize money, hospitality, logistics and TV operations).
- $7.5 billion: FIFA’s commercial deals tied to the 2022 World Cup.
- $160 billion: The amount estimated to be spent by gamblers worldwide.
The public relations of the World Cup: the good and the bad
The tournament’s public relations value to Qatar and FIFA is a no-brainer. The energy-rich Gulf state will be able to showcase its shiny, state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities.
In doing so, Qatar will become the face of an Arab world that projects itself as rich, bold, and futuristic – a dramatic contrast with current perceptions of a world wracked by conflict, repression, violence and conservatism.
In many ways, hosting the World Cup is in PR terms similar to Qatar’s launch in 1996 of the Al Jazeera television network that radically changed the Arab media landscape and put the Gulf state on the map in a way public relations never could have.
But the World Cup also has a dark public relations side. Overshadowing the question of the cost of the World Cup is the fate of the migrant workers who have toiled in the country for the past decade. There are 1.7 million migrant workers in the country, accounting for over 90% of the workforce in a population of 2.9 million.
Since it was awarded the tournament in 2010, Qatar has faced a barrage of criticism from human rights groups for its treatment of foreign workers, and thousands of migrant deaths have been reported.
FIFA, football fans and PR
How FIFA came to its decision to award the World Cup to Qatar will forever be shrouded in mystery. Allegations of bribery are just that, allegations. They have never been proven, nor will they ever be. There can only be assumptions.
For FIFA, football’s international governing body, neither migrant worker deaths nor the question of costs will affect its bottom line. It has been a financial boom.
For the football fans, economics and public relations are not relevant at this stage. All they want to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the tension of the beautiful game.