The FIFA World Cup is an amazing international event held every four years. Fans from all over the world descend on the host country bringing with them an outpouring of color, passion, energy, and culture. The world game is a wonderful accolade to the country that plays host plus the event holds much promise to global broadcast, tourism, and injection of millions of dollars into the economy.
FIFA the international governing body for soccer (football) requires the host nation to comply with detailed regulations and specifications including security, transport, accommodation, training facilities, opening and closing ceremonies, marketing, promotions, ticketing, insurance, and other administrative matters.
Are there financial risks worth hosting such an event? Infrastructure issues (like airports, roads, stadiums, and public transport) for hosting such an event are usually among the major complications. When Athens hosted the Olympic Games in 2004, its budget went from US$1.6 billion to US$16 billion: Beijing in 2008 went from US$1.6 billion to around US$40 billion. London’s price tag for the 2012 games has blown out from US$5 billion to around US$20 billion. So far, South Africa is estimated to have spent US$5 billion and FIFA US$1.1 billion on preparations before the kick-off of the 2010 World Cup.
Potentially millions of dollars from tourists are injected into small businesses, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, tours, and transport from hosting the FIFA tournament. However, the costs associated with a significant influx of visitors is the provision of security to fans and all the teams, counter-terrorist activities, policing racial sensitivities, and purchase and installation of high-tech monitoring equipment.
The revenue from the sale of tickets to the games if not achieved would back fire on the host country as it may take years to recover the outlay for hosting such a global event. History will determine the success of hosting the FIFA tournament. The global exposure of this world event may benefit the host country and its local suppliers/industries in years to come.
The study of a US economist on the historical experience of host nations since 1954 revealed that in 7 of the 13 tournaments since 1954, economic growth has been slower in the World Cup year than in the two years leading up to the event. On the other hand, 9 of the 13 host nations since 1954 has shown faster economic growth in the 2 years following the event.
What the FIFA World Cup does is that it brings the world together through competition fostering cross-cultural interaction and international understanding. In a world plagued by wars, racism, and religious intolerance, the FIFA World Cup contributes to universal brotherhood, whose benefits to humanity is impossible to quantify.
Around 6 billion people watch the Olympics but this is pale in comparison to the 26 billion who is estimated to watch the FIFA World Cup.
South Africa is hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June to July. The next FIFA World Cup will be held in June to July 2014 in Brazil, a nation who was crowned the world champions in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002.