FIFA World Cup 2018: The Billions of Dollars Involved in Soccer’s Showpiece Tournament


Soccer, known as “the beautiful game,” is the world’s most popular team sport. The FIFA World Cup is the absolute centerpiece of the sport. The festival of football lasts over a month, demonstrating the strengths and skills of the greatest players on earth.

Unsurprisingly, the tournament is a major source of income for the governing body which both governs and oversees the development of the sport around the world. Fans can make money by backing the team of their choice with a free bet on the World Cup, but for the most part, this is an event for fans will spend and spend a lot.

Taking into consideration the amount of money paid by the host nation (which is Russia this time around) to have the World Cup, a huge percentage of the price of tickets, merchandise, and pretty much everything else involved will find its way back to FIFA. According to the New York Times, FIFA look set to make a staggering $6.1 billion in revenue. TV rights alone are worth more than $3 billion.

Sponsorship revenue from 20 major companies who act as advertising partners pumps more money FIFA’s way, while EA Sports – the company which makes the uber-popular FIFA video game titles – will also pay a sum of millions to the association.

The Teams

There is no international team event that can come close to the FIFA World Cup in terms of its monetary importance. The teams are all comprised of players who carry multi-million dollar price tags into the tournament.

Of all the 32 teams involved in the World Cup, Panama’s team are the cheapest of them all at $7.4 million in total. France’s team of stars are the most expensive unit in the competition at a combined value just short of $1 billion at $950 million. Three of their biggest stars, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembélé, are all individually worth more than Panama, Saudi Arabia and Peru combined.

The most expensive players in the tournament are PSG’s Neymar and his former teammate at Barcelona, Lionel Messi, at $211 million dollars. Serious money indeed, yet FIFA will be hoping that the competition’s main men will be the perfect ambassadors for attracting similar sums of money at the next tournament in Qatar.

The Revenue

3.2 billion people watched the last installment of the World Cup, which was hosted by Brazil in 2014. Given the sheer amount of eyes fixed on soccer’s greatest tournament, sponsorship costs will undoubtedly be pretty significant. Major global companies like McDonalds and MasterCard have traditionally sponsored the tournament and can broadcast their messages to billions across the planet as a result of their deals with FIFA.

These companies will undoubtedly make more as a result of advertising than their outlay.

The World Cup is also a shop window for clubs around Europe to buy players based on an occasional flash of brilliance while selling clubs can inflate prices and players demand up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per week in wages.

Make no mistake: the World Cup can be a tournament like no other, but the underlying greed and profit-hunting by global conglomerates really reminds us why college sports can be where the real fun of the spectacle is at.