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The World Cup numbers game

While most of the attention will be focused on the field this summer in South Africa, the staggering sums of money involved in the showpiece event of world football are often overlooked, but when the final ball has been kicked and the champions crowned, just who is set to come out on top in the off the field numbers game which includes sponsors, South Africa and FIFA themselves?

The world governing body of football is unlikely to be concerned, even with a reported 160,000 tickets still not sold.  With a budget of £800m (including the recent costs of £67m to improve training facilities in South Africa) they expect revenue of £2.1bn from the competition.


The predicament for hosts South Africa is someone less convincing.  Having budgeted $3.5bn (1.72% of GDP), analysts believe the tournament will bring in $2 billion for South Africa’s tourism industry, and $1.1 billion for retailers.  However there is an emphasis on a longer term stimulus for the country’s economy to come on the back of the competition.

“We all need to grab this opportunity to show our visitors what South Africa is all about. We need to work together with creative insight and energy after the World Cup to maintain arrivals to South Africa,” Thandiwe January McLean, CEO of South African Tourism told The Economic Times.

“This World Cup offers our industry and nation a rich legacy. We should not see World Cup as one event that solves all economic issues, but rather an opportunity to refine the way we do things and create a legacy for the future.”

However concerns have been raised as to whether this will be the case with many arguing Greece’s current financial plight is partly a consequence of hosting the Olympics in 2008.


Sponsorship is also on a huge scale.  It costs a staggering $125m to be a partner of the World Cup before a company has even factored in marketing campaigns.  According to a survey of over 1,000 UK football fans carried out on behalf of PR consultancy Van Communications by ICM Research, unprompted awareness of Coca-Cola (32%), Adidas (19%) and McDonald’s (14%) is strong. However, the remaining official FIFA partners and sponsors have “failed to get onto people’s radar”.

Sony and Visa have unprompted awareness scores of 10% and 7% whilst brands that link their association with the World Cup through the England team are faring “very poorly”. Kit supplier Umbro has an unprompted awareness score of 4%, followed by Carlsberg (3%) and Nationwide (2%).

Such figures perhaps indicate that ultimately when the World Cup comes around, despite the endless chain of World Cup adverts, promotions and merchandise, that the majority fans are  ultimately concerned with one thing – on the field events, and it will be sometime after the July 11th final until the real winners and losers of the 2010 World Cup emerge.

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