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FIFA World Cup 2022 Brings Economic Growth to Qatar

On the evening of November 20th, local time, FIFA World Cup 2022, held for the first time in the winter of the northern hemisphere opened in Qatar. According to statistics, the investment amount of the World Cup this year is as high as 220 billion US dollars. The investment is the highest among all World Cups in history,which is almost equivalent to five times the sum of the investment of previous seven World Cups. In Qatar, the government has not only built new stadiums, airports, hotels, shopping malls, subways and roads, but even has plans to build a village called Lusail in the desert into the second largest city in the country. For a country with a per capita GDP about $100,000, Qatar’s spending on the World Cup is impressive. But from an economic point of view, how will Qatar benefit from its huge investment in this World Cup? You might notice some facts, such as the price per ticket of World Cup 2022 is the most expensive ever (59% more than the price per ticket in Russia four years ago, with final ticket price costing up to $812). In addition, experts predict that World Cup 2022 will most likely become the one with the largest number of viewers of all World Cups held ever (FIFA said that World Cup 2022 will attract 5 billion viewers from around the world), that is to say, broadcasting rights will bring a considerable amount of income. However, according to existing regulations, the income mentioned above will not become the national income of Qatar but belongs to FIFA. Even all brand sponsorship revenue will go to FIFA. Since FIFA is a non-profit organization, all the income will be used to invest in the daily operation of FIFA and the development of soccer.

Now here comes the question: how will Qatar get some economic returns through this World Cup? The answer is: indirect income, or the opportunity and potential to gain income in the future. In China, there is a saying popular with football fans: “Youth is just a few World Cups.” It can reflect that the four-year cycle of the World Cup ensures its rarity and attention caught by people. According to Google trends’ statistics on the popularity of the two terms “World Cup” and “Olympic Games” in the past 20 years, the peak popularity of each “World Cup” is almost twice that of each “Olympic Games”.

It can be said that the “heat” brought about by each World Cup can make a positive impact on the economy of the host country, of which the most obvious is the increase in tourism revenue and housing prices. A good example is that according to data released by the Russian government, in 2017, the number of foreign tourists in Russia for the whole year was 32 million, while in 2018, the year that the Russia World Cup is held, this number went up to 42 million. The World Cup can also become a good economic leverage: though the expenditure for building soccer fields and purchasing related facilities is relatively large in the year of the World Cup, the economic value and influence created by the World Cup will continue to bring considerable returns in the next decade or so.

By Tao Cheng

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