+2
Vote Up Vote Down

2014 FIFA World Cup By The Numbers

by John S Kiernan on June 9, 2014

Wallet Hub Fifa BadgeAre you ready for some football?  We obviously know it as soccer, but no matter what you call it, the beautiful game is set to captivate the globe as the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off from Brazil June 12.  After all, there is no shortage of story lines associated with the Brazil edition of this quadrennial celebration of sport.  From the home country’s last-minute scramble to ready itself for the world stage and the accompanying protests regarding the government’s massive infrastructure investment to questions of tourist safety and doubts about the stability of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, the drama is at a fever pitch before the games have even begun.

Then there’s what the World Cup means for the business of soccer in the United States.  Interest in soccer among American consumers has been steadily rising with the aid of a number of important tailwinds – including the popularity of youth soccer, MLS stability, America’s growing immigrant population, and the rise of new 24/7 sports networks.  So, as the red, white and blue prepares to make its seventh consecutive World Cup appearance in a country with only an hour’s time difference from the East Coast, sponsors are gearing up for record U.S. viewership.

But will it pay off in the end – for the home nation, the U.S. squad, or the companies fueling this global sporting spectacle?  While it’s difficult to say for sure, WalletHub crunched the numbers and asked the experts in order to gain a bit of added insight into the grand event. Hopefully the resulting 2014 World Cup By The Numbers Infographic and Q&A with leading experts in the fields of sport management and economics will make your viewing experience as enjoyable and enlightening as possible.

WalletHub FIFA World Cup 2014 by the Numbers Infographic

 

Ask the Experts

  • Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?
  • What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?
  • Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?
  • Who do you think will win the World Cup?
  • Back to All Experts

    Mark Griffiths

    Director, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Given the amount of deregulation and liberalization of gambling in the U.S. over the last five years, and the fact that every major bookmaker worldwide has had its World Cup advertising marketing and advertising strategy in place for months, I can't see it being anything but record interest in U.S. citizens betting on the World Cup.

    Obviously this will be heightened by the USA being in the finals for the seventh consecutive time (and topping their qualifying group) plus winning 17 games in 2013 (including their win over Germany). If the USA weren't in the finals, there would be less betting as people tend to bet with their hearts, not their minds.

    Also, soccer has become much more visible over the last few years thanks to the 'Beckham Effect'. The high profile of US soccer by teams like LA Galaxy has led to more U.S. citizens following soccer (although it is unlikely to ever be in the same league as baseball and American football).

    The one thing that goes against soccer coverage in the U.S. is that sponsors have no chance to advertise during the 45 minute halves. Obviously there can be tickertape advertising across the bottom of TV screens but the US sponsors don’t like anything that prevents 'standard' television commercials being aired every 10 minutes.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    The net effect will only be known after the tournament based on whether there were perceived problems around issues such as hooliganism, building infrastructure, etc. However, most countries that host major events (such as the UK hosting the 2012 Olympics) see an increase in national belonging and being proud of its achievements. It also has a positive impact on other important areas such as bringing in money via increased tourism. Basically, events like the World Cup and the Olympics are giant adverts for coming to the country in question.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    My money's on Brazil because of the well-established base in home advantage.
    Back to All Experts

    Wolfgang Maennig

    Professor of Economics, Hamburg University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Interest in soccer seems to increase steadily, implying growing marketing opportunities. In addition, Brazil is in the same time zone. There is a good chance for records. Of course, the performance of the U.S. team will be of importance.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    They will have the experience of an outstanding athletic performance in their home country. They will enjoy a relaxed party time. They will deliver wonderful pictures to the rest of the world, making them even more proud about their nation. But there will not be any significant effects on employment, income, taxes, etc.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Ex post, the World Cup will be perceived as an success. The Olympic organizers will feel reassured.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    That is the easiest question, thank you: It will be Germany, of course!
    Back to All Experts

    Laurence Chalip

    Professor of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    American interest in soccer, especially at the elite level, has continued to rise over the years. There is every reason to expect that the World Cup will be of greater interest to Americans this time than at any time in the past.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Mixed. There may be flow-on benefits in terms of branding Brazil as a business and tourism destination. The research shows that this can occur if the country puts effort into strategically leveraging for that purpose. The Brazilian government is making some effort to capitalize on the World Cup and the Olympics (jointly) to further develop sport (especially sport participation) in Brazil. How effective that will be remains to be seen.

    Most major events leave very little long-term value (or problems). The key is what is done with the event – how it is integrated into the country’s overall product and service mix, and how any branding benefits are built upon in a sustained fashion after the event is over. Brazil has a long way to go to capitalize fully on the World Cup.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    It depends. If the event comes off well, then the quality of expertise available for a mega-event will be much enhanced. That will be a good thing. If it comes off poorly, then the question is whether the lessons are learned and incorporated into running the Olympics. So, it depends on the learning that takes place at the World Cup, and how that learning is incorporated into Olympic organizing.
    Back to All Experts

    Rodney Paul

    Professor of Sport Management, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Very tough to tell at this point. I was in Europe recently and you can tell it's World Cup time, as it is a constant point of conversation. It obviously does not hold the same importance in the U.S., but hopefully the sponsors are correct and it will be successful and popular this summer in the U.S.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    When measured in the proper economic fashion, mega-events like the World Cup do not appear to offer much in terms of increases in Gross Domestic Product or decreases in Unemployment. Most of the optimistic forecasts of improvements in local economies due to hosting the World Cup have not actually come to fruition. There is even the possibility if some of the negative news items heard with this World Cup are true and actually occur (labor strikes, political discord, delays, etc.), that there could be lasting negative economic issues.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Argentina.
    Back to All Experts

    Michael Veley

    Rhonda S. Falk Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Sport Management, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    The Olympic Games have much more universal appeal, and while soccer has an extraordinarily passionate fan base, the overall level of nationalism is greater for the Olympics, especially in the U.S. The role that television coverage plays is vital to sponsors. The combined networks of NBC Universal made the 2012 London Olympics the most watched television event in history and this branding opportunity is significant for sponsors and advertisers. There are significantly more opportunities for global exposure in the Olympics. The limited stoppage of play in a soccer match drastically reduces commercial breaks.
    Back to All Experts

    Manuel Balan

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, McGill University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    I think the trend in the U.S. has been steady in terms of the increase in interest since the 94 World Cup. I don't think this trend will be reversed this time around. Interest in soccer is growing and will continue to grow.

    As I see it, there are two types of interest that the World Cup generates: a part of the interest has to do with the U.S. national team and its performance, and the other is more general and relates to the superstars (Messi, Ronaldo, et al) and the top teams (England, Brazil, Germany, etc.). I think the latter will continue to grow, and the overall interest in the World Cup will reach new records, however we are measuring interest (viewership on TV and online, etc.).

    On the other hand, the U.S. is heading to a difficult World Cup. The group is very complicated and the U.S. is unlikely to make it to the second round. Plus it is a transitional time for U.S. soccer, with stars such as Donovan (not even called up in the World Cup this time) and Clint Dempsey now on the wrong side of 30 (it's also Howard's last WC). This was even recognized by the current coach, calling up younger non-established players to expose them to the competition thinking of the future.

    In short, interest will grow, but the U.S. national team's performance will put a ceiling to this interest.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Well, we already see and are seeing a lot of the effect, and the picture isn't particularly pretty. For after the World Cup we'll see more empty white elephants, and a transportation system at the national and regional level that has failed to improve according to plan. Plus, high relative prices in Brazil will result in lower expenditures than initially expected, and I don't think the initial revenue objectives will be met, which coupled with expenditures that have largely exceeded expectations, makes for a rather lackluster outcome.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Both, if that makes sense. The World Cup will happen, and everything will go rather smoothly. In that sense, this will reassure that the Olympics will also go as planned, and they will ‘happen.’ However, and related to the above answer, I think the revenues and overall interest (or lack thereof) within Brazil will paint a rather grim picture for the Olympics, particularly compared to the extremely high expectations we had a few years ago.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Brazil is always a favorite, and they are locals this time around, so it's only natural to consider them heavy favorites. After Brazil, I don't think Spain is looking particularly strong as of late, with some key players a bit past their prime (Xavi, Fabregas, Casillas, Torres, even Iniesta).

    Then, no European team has ever won a world cup in South America, and I don't see that changing this time around, so other than Brazil, I'd consider Argentina a second favorite (particularly if Messi is inspired and motivated).
    Back to All Experts

    Eric Zillmer

    Director of Athletics and Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology, Drexel University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    The growth of soccer in the U.S. will be measured by how well Team USA will do in Brazil. Arguably, this is the best U.S. men’s soccer national team ever. They are talented and have experience; several of the players are competing on foreign clubs including the top leagues in Europe, like England’s Premier League.

    U.S. players to watch include goalie Tim Howard, who reminds me of Spiderman. Michael Bradley is Team U.S.’s best player, passer and its quarterback who roams the midfield exploiting angles and opportunities. Striker Clint Dempsey, who hardly ever touches the ball, except when he scores, is the team’s ‘assassin.’ In Jürgen Klinsmann, Team USA has a coach who has re-energized U.S. soccer and has insisted on a modern style of play focusing on attack, attack, and attack. Currently ranked 14th in the world, the fact is, nobody wants to face Team USA in the tournament.

    The USA’s Achilles heel, however, has been its back four defense and they will be tested. Emerging from Group G, the ‘Group of Death’ will be difficult given that three-time champion Germany, a favorite, Portugal No. 3 in the world, and Ghana, a talented and athletic opponent, all are formidable opponents.

    Could this be the World Cup that the USA breaks through? The time difference to Brazil is only one hour so World Cup games will be seen in primetime in U.S. living rooms. If Team USA manages to survive pool play and go deep into the tournament, Americans will experience and embrace something they have never witnessed in our sports culture before: a serious and contagious case of World Cup fever!

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    A lot of attention will be on Brazil. For a country to win a bid to host the World Cup, is it a curse or a blessing? Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world, almost similar in size to the UK. Unlike the UK, who flawlessly hosted the second largest sporting event in the world, the 2012 Summer Olympics, issues of safety, unemployment, and labor unrest have dogged Brazil. The host nation is scrambling to make sure stadia, airports and accommodations are ready for the nearly half a million people expected to attend the World Cup. Play will be held in 12 cities around the large South American nation. Although Brazil won the bid to host in the year 2007, we recently learned that the roof of the stadium in Sao Paolo would not be finished for the opening game between Brazil and Croatia on June 12th.

    There are also questions about the readiness of the airports in some of the more remote locations of Brazil, with reports that temporary tents will accommodate extra passengers. And then there are issues of tourism safety as well as reports of labor demonstrations against what is perceived to be too high of a cost of hosting the World Cup. All of Brazil’s problems will dissipate immediately, however, if they win the Cup. In fact, only three times has a nation won the Cup outside its continent. Thus, a team from South America will be highly favored. But will Brazil crack under the entire nation’s pride and pressure?

    The final verdict of the World Cup will, however, be analyzed five years after the last goal has been scored. Will the Cup bring lasting infrastructure improvements to ‘needy’ Brazil, or will some of the stadiums become white elephants, symbolic of the leftover empty wine bottles after a long party. Results have been mixed in the past. For example, did South Africa benefit in the long run from the World Cup, how about Poland or Korea? The final analysis is probably best measured in unemployment statistics and currency exchange rates that will tell the story if the rest of the world is more likely to do business with Brazil as a function of having hosted the World Cup.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    IOC members only have themselves to blame for playing politics with the Olympics by awarding the Games to ‘emerging’ economies like Russia and now Brazil. Did the former IOC President really state that the Olympics are more important than the Catholic Church? It has now become fashionable to award bids to exotic locations, both geographical and political, but the proof is in the pudding. Will Brazil’s infrastructure be able to execute the second largest sporting event in the world two years after hosting the World Cup? Fifteen thousand athletes are expected to attend the Brazil Summer Olympics and have to be housed in a brand new Olympic village. An Olympic swimming pool and indoor cycling facility as well as other competition structure have to be built that will certainly be underutilized after the Games are long over.

    A prime example of mismanagement were the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics that resulted in useless structures being built around the city of Montreal and a great deal of acquired debt to the city treasury. London 2012 showed us, however, that it is possible to seamlessly manage the Olympics.

    Are the IOC officials worried about Brazil being ready for 2016? Of course! But the Brazilian International Olympic Committee is worried even more; since they have to live with whatever story emerges from the Olympics, a fairy-tale or a nightmare.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Spain is the defending champion and Brazil the most decorated champion with five titles. A most telling statistic is, however, that only three times has a team won the World Cup that was not from the continent that the Cup was hosted in. Those three teams are Brazil, Argentina and Italy.

    Every time the World Cup has been in South America a team from that continent won it. The primary favorites then would be South American teams, including Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay and Argentina, ranked three through six in FIFA’s world ranking. The strongest European contenders are Spain and three-time champion Germany.

    The most important question of the World Cup is: will Brazil ‘crack’ under the pressure put on by the host country’s dreams and ambitions to be a world-class country on and off the field? My guess is that they will and that it will open the Cup for the Germans or Argentina. Remember, this is soccer and once pool play is completed, the knockout round will surely lead to some surprises, including the dreaded PK shootouts.

    I don’t think No. 3 Portugal has the depth, England does not have enough good players, and Switzerland is just happy to be there. Looking for Cinderella teams – pick Chile, who is ranked 13th, Bosnia Herzegovina, Team USA, or Greece.

    Play ball … football!
    Back to All Experts

    Dexter Davis

    Sport Management Coordinator, University of Tennessee at Martin

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Sponsors always want the most eyes possible on their product and the various activation activities they have for those products. Unfortunately, and I don't know how to say this nicely, U.S. fans want to back a winner and the U.S. team has drawn a very tough group for the group play stage.

    Germany is a heavy favorite to win the Cup and currently ranked 2nd in the FIFA World Rankings. Portugal is also a highly regarded team – 3rd in the world ranks. If the U.S. were to advance beyond the group play stage it would be considered a major upset, and I think viewership in the U.S. will decline unless they pull off that upset and advance. Also, Coach Klinsmann has named an interesting mix of players to the 23-man roster, with some of the household names like Landon Donovan being left off that roster.

    Fortunately, the FIFA Partners, the top tier of sponsors are widely known brands and will not suffer greatly if the U.S. is not present in the later stages of the event. The area where I see the potential for that ‘bet’ not paying off would be the World Cup Sponsors. There are some sponsors there that might suffer if there is a lack of U.S. success. Sponsors like Budweiser, Johnson & Johnson, and Castrol might not get as much ROI as they would have hoped for. Finally, the third-tier sponsors seem to be more positioned to be successful because of their level of commitment and the fact that they are more ‘regional’ brands.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    There are reports of construction issues, with everything from cost overruns to construction site fatalities to the outright scrapping of promised infrastructure upgrades. Similar to the issues in China during the Olympics, there are reports of forced relocations of individuals and families living in areas targeted for ‘upgrades.’ There have been complaints of human rights violations and unsafe working conditions.

    These reports seem to indicate that the Brazilian government and World Cup Organizers have only one objective, to ensure that the event runs smoothly regardless of the human cost. Therefore, based on the available information, I would have to conclude that the net effect on the country will be a negative one and will carry over into the planning and implementation of the 2016 Olympics.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    I think everyone has to be pretty nervous about both events.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    I am a big Germany fan. I grew up watching ‘Soccer Made in Germany’ on PBS. Karl Heinz Rummenigge was one of my soccer heroes, and when I coached I tried to implement a German style of play.

    So, I think Germany will win with my heart, but my head says it’s hard to discount the home field advantage that Brazil will have in the tournament. There is nothing like home cooking!
    Back to All Experts

    Jonathan Casper

    Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Soccer spectatorship is at an all-time high. And ESPN research is showing that is strongest with the young male audience, who are prime target markets for almost all goods. Research also shows that it is one of the fastest-growing spectator sports in United States. Based on soccer's positioning, I would agree that there'll be record interest in the World Cup, especially if the U.S. is successful.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    We will have to see, but history has shown that you cannot expect to recover all economic expenditures that are related to hosting such mega-events. If the World Cup is successful and there are no major incidences, I feel Brazil will gain an indirect economic benefit based on media coverage and the perception of the country as a sport nation and a possible tourist destination.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    I feel that hosting the World Cup before the 2016 Olympics is advantageous for Brazil, as they will learn areas of improvement as they get ready for the summer games. While the World Cup might be almost as big as the Olympics, happening several different stadia and facilities, there is less of a spectatorship affinity for the teams and more for the nations. It may be easier to deal with ‘crazy’ nationalists rather than soccer hooligans.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    We will have to see, but if the United States does not win I think I will cheer for the host nation Brazil.
    Back to All Experts

    Scott Tainsky

    Assistant Professor of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    It all depends on how the U.S. plays. My research with Brian Mills (U. Florida) and Steve Salaga (Texas A&M) has shown that fan interest in other games is highly conditional on how ‘their’ team performs. If the U.S. opens the tournament with strong showings against Ghana, Portugal and Germany, then other games not featuring the U.S. become must-see TV. Conversely, if the U.S. doesn’t show well early and doesn’t survive the group stage, interest will be on hold until 2018.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    There are opportunities to have a lasting effect if the event is properly leveraged. Research by Laurence Chalip (U. Illinois) has consistently shown that just having an event, even a mega-event like the FIFA World Cup, needs proper leveraging to have a sustained impact. The sheer attention affords the opportunity to create better outcomes for the citizens of Brazil, but just having the world’s attention is not a magic elixir.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Whether the FIFA World Cup goes smoothly or hits some bumps, the IOC will be glad it has two years to learn from the World Cup experience. So, still nervous, but with better information.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    I’ll stay on a limb here and say ‘not the US.’ The traditional power teams from South America and Europe are too strong for us right now.
    Back to All Experts

    Jim Monks

    Associate Professor of Economics, University of Richmond, Robins School of Business

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Yes, every four years U.S. interest in the World Cup grows larger and larger. The fact that it is in Brazil and all the fanaticism it will receive there will be infectious and catch on in the U.S., as well. Additionally, because there is only a one-hour time difference between Brazil and the East Coast of the United States that will help viewership.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    I certainly don’t expect there to be a significant positive economic benefit. Studies that claim to show that sporting events have a substantial positive impact on the economy normally have a political motivation for biasing their results upward. It will be fun for Brazilians, but the economic impact will be minimal, if not negative, as resources that should be devoted to more long-term infrastructure are diverted to constructing stadia.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    A little of both. They will feel reassured because they will find a way to pull it off, even if it is last minute and there are some glitches, but they will find a way to pull it off. They will feel nervous because there will be glitches and some embarrassing mistakes, as well as some demonstrations.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    It is hard to predict anyone other than Brazil, given that it is in Brazil. If I had to pick a dark horse, however, I’d go with Uruguay.
    Back to All Experts

    Jay Jisha

    Chair, Department of Sport Management, University of Tampa

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    I think the internet and the increase in European soccer on television, especially NBC's coverage of the Barclays's Premier League, has made the game more accessible to fans in the U.S. I am 46 and started playing at age 5, but the only television coverage I had was a 30-minute program on PBS called ‘Soccer Made in Germany.’ Today, from Tampa I can follow Liverpool as easily as I can follow the Cincinnati Reds (My hometown team). I think the fact that more Americans now support a club they will want to watch more World Cup games to see their favorite club players represent their countries. As a Liverpool fan, I am interested in seeing Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Jordan Henderson try to deal with Luis Suarez when England faces Uruguay.

    I also think that more Americans are soccer fans than ever before. The standard line regarding the popularity of soccer for my entire life has been wait until all these kids that are players grow up and become fans, then soccer will take off. Well, that may be happening to some extent but I think another key factor is that soccer has started to appeal to fans that were not players. My students tell me that the FIFA World Cup video game has a lot to do with that. The video game has introduced the sport and players to an audience that may not have been soccer players but were fans of good video games. I just returned from teaching a 10-day travel course in Europe, and we toured Anfield and Emirates stadiums. The students knew the Liverpool and Arsenal players and had a good understanding of the history and traditions of the teams. This likely would have not been the case 10-15 years ago.

    I also think the 2014 World Cup will be a big success because Americans love big events. The World Cup also benefits from great timing. It is before the pennant races in baseball and before the college and pro football seasons start. It will essentially have the sports television landscape to itself.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    I will go out on a limb and pick Brazil to win. However, I am interested in watching Belgium play and will be rooting for the U.S.
    Back to All Experts

    Ron Christian

    Assistant Professor of Sport Administration, Baker University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    In terms of sponsorship, the trend with events such as the Olympics and the World Cup seems to remain consistent in terms of providing meaningful opportunities to connect with consumers – so ROI looks promising for sponsors. Soccer is continuing to grow in popularity in the U.S., and companies have developed effective strategies to leverage that interest for marketing purposes.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Overall, the research tends to speak for itself in terms of attitudes toward the event. Pew Research noted that 6 in 10 Brazilians think hosting the World Cup will be bad for the country, and 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in Brazil. The perception seems to be that the World Cup has more of a negative effect on the local economy.

    Preparation and overall expenses for these types of world events exert a lot of pressure on a country – the facilities are often riddled with delays and cost over-runs. And there’s always a question of return on investment – that is very difficult to measure. Economic impact numbers are often a topic of debate in terms of how realistic the calculations are.
    Back to All Experts

    Fred Battenfield

    Professor of Sport Management, North Greenville University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    The interest in the USA will be higher than ever before, but in the long run, it’s still soccer/football, and Americans are still not keen on embracing the game. However, with the shift in the United States’ ethnic population toward more soccer-loving Hispanics and immigrants, you will see a massive outpouring of viewership during the Copa Mundial.

    World cup sponsors realize that the USA market is still the largest in the world for sport sponsorship, and they are counting on that marketing uptick. I just don’t see it being that much of a difference than previous Cups.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Right now, Brazil has a socialist mess that may be unfixable. I took a trip to Brazil in March of 2013 and found the country truly is not prepared for hosting the world. They are soccer loving fanatics, but from the administrative, political and social side, they are light years behind the rest of the organized sports world. The Brazilian government has banked its position in the world of international sport on the World Cup and the subsequent Olympics, but they just do not have the academic training, a legacy of organized sport management professionals and volunteers, and the government’s heavy handed influence on the entire undertaking the next two years is a huge hindrance.

    The Brazilian populace has caught on to the excessive spending on sport to the neglect of basic human services. There has been trouble and it could seriously backfire on them if major incidents occur while the world’s media is there.

    Preparation and overall expenses for these types of world events exert a lot of pressure on a country – the facilities are often riddled with delays and cost over-runs. And there’s always a question of return on investment – that is very difficult to measure. Economic impact numbers are often a topic of debate in terms of how realistic the calculations are.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    The IOC is panic stricken and has already sent an administrator to basically run the Organizing Committee for the Brazilians. I saw an article recently that stated that the IOC called the Brazilians’ preparation for the Games ‘the worst ever.’ Those are not my words, and I have been to several Olympics. I think they will be able to put on a quality Olympics, but they must work faster.
    Back to All Experts

    Ricard Jensen

    Associate Professor of Marketing, Montclair State University, School of Business

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    First, I am confident that this year's World Cup should surpass previous records for viewership of live matches in the United States, and I won't be surprised if it shatters previous records.

    There is more pronounced interest in international soccer than ever before because more international matches are broadcast on cable TV; for example, the deal between NBC and its family of networks to broadcast the English Premier League is giving Americans more hours of live soccer programming than ever before and you can find many other cable TV channels that are also showing international soccer. In addition to live TV viewership, this year's World Cup will be more widely available on different platforms than ever before, thanks to advances in technology – so you'll be able to watch matches via your smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer. The point is that the total number of fans watching live matches will be greater than ever.

    In addition, several signs show that a greater segment of the American public than ever before are becoming soccer fans. Major League Soccer seems to be very healthy, in terms of attendance and TV viewership, and social media followers. The league will also get a huge boost with its new expansion franchise in New York City, New York City FC, which is a joint venture between the New York Yankees and Manchester City FC – it's creating a lot of buzz! And I know that there is a lot of interest by specific ethnic subcultures in the national teams of their home country. When the national team of Ecuador played an exhibition match against Argentina in MetLife Stadium in November 2013 more than 45,000 Hispanic and Latino fans from the Tri-State area (NY, NJ and Connecticut) attended, and they were vocal and passionate!

    But I will now try to answer your question---Will it pay off for sponsors? The real issue that will determine if sponsoring the World Cup will pay off for sponsors is the extent to which corporations activate their sponsorship. The guiding principle is that companies who sponsor a competition like this and do nothing more than advertise are wasting the effectiveness of the money they are spending on sponsorship. The best way for companies sponsoring the World Cup or any soccer event to succeed in business is to seriously consider the strategic goals they want to achieve and then develop meaningful experiences to activate the sponsorship and create lasting memories! That's the way to make sponsorship work!

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    I think the effects will be mixed. I am usually a great proponent of having cities, regions, and nations compete to host mega-events; I feel that hosting the Super Bowl was a great benefit for New York and New Jersey.

    But the case of Brazil is a bit different. Many of the people in Brazil are concerned that large amounts of money are being spent on sports stadiums, while at the same time there is a perception that money needs to be invested, instead, in schools, roads, hospitals, and providing assistance for the poor and needy. I have no doubts that the World Cup will bring in a great deal of tourists and tourism-related revenue and that it will showcase Brazil to the world in a way that it hasn't been exposed before – it will put Brazil on the map as a destination brand – but I am more than a little concerned that the stadiums built for this wonderful showcase and spectacle might find relatively little use once the tournament has finished. If that happens, that might be a tragedy.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    It all depends on how this World Cup plays out. If the competition can be played out without widespread disruptions, then I feel that the organizers of the Olympics will believe the situation is manageable.

    But if there are widespread protests in the streets, matches are being disrupted, and fans feel unsafe, then the nation of Brazil and its Olympic Committee will have to examine what kinds of management reforms need to be undertaken.

    I'm hoping and praying for a safe World Cup that the nation of Brazil will rally around, and that the people of Brazil will take this opportunity to create an outstanding and positive image of their country that the world will embrace.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    The easy guess that nearly everyone is making is that Brazil will win, but I want to offer you a few intriguing alternate scenarios.

    My best bet for an upset is Uruguay, which made the semi-finals in the last World Cup in South Africa. They have an exceptional goal scorer in Luis Suarez and their veteran leader, Diego Forlan, was named the best player in the last World Cup. They play a very exciting style and are very dangerous.

    Some other teams I suggest you look out for from the Western Hemisphere are Argentina (led by the spectacular Lionel Messi), high-scoring Colombia and Chile.

    The only two European sides that I give any real chance to are Spain, the defending champions, and the Netherlands. But the Dutch have to keep on employing their free-flowing, creative, high-scoring style of total football if they will wear the crown.
    Back to All Experts

    Artemisia Apostolopoulou

    Professor of Sport Management, Robert Morris University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Over the past decade the interest in soccer in the United States has steadily increased as evidenced by participation and attendance figures as well as television ratings. No one, of course, believes that the sport will ever match the popularity of American football or baseball; however, soccer has been gaining momentum in the USA, which presents an attractive opportunity for all those involved. National success in World Championship competitions coupled with increased media coverage of domestic and international leagues, a conscious investment in enhancing fan experience through soccer-specific infrastructure, global soccer icons, some of whom tour or play in the USA, as well as a racially more diverse U.S. population have led to growing soccer fan bases in this country. The participation of the USA National Team in the 2014 World Cup ensures that people will be tuning in to watch what happens in Brazil. And that creates a great opportunity for sponsors to capitalize on the goodwill and excitement of this grand event in order to achieve their business goals.

    I would like to note though that, in terms of sponsor return, one should also consider the investment each company is making in activating their sponsorship agreement. Beyond the traditional means of sponsorship activation, such as advertising, sales promotions and hospitality events, the popularity and widespread use of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) has created yet another platform through which companies can reach target consumers and ultimately maximize the return on their investment. Furthermore, cause-related marketing campaigns aimed at creating a long-lasting positive impact on underserved populations is another tool for activation that can offer a competitive advantage to the sponsor. As long as World Cup corporate partners are active in engaging national and global consumers and findings ways to enhance their experiences and improve their lives, they could benefit from the enthusiasm surrounding the upcoming 2014 World Cup.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    As with any mega-event, the legacy of the World Cup could be significant for the host country and also multidimensional. Such an event could bring a host of tangible and intangible benefits to Brazil ranging from urban planning and infrastructure improvements to business growth and additional employment opportunities, increased sport development and participation, new knowledge creation and dissemination, enhanced destination image and increased tourism, renewed community spirit and cultural exchange. Those benefits result in various economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts that could improve quality of life, particularly for local stakeholders, in the short and longer term.

    With that said, the threat of negative legacies should not be ignored. Debts from high investments in infrastructure, unreasonable increases in the cost of living, and opportunity costs could potentially lead to a negative effect of the World Cup on the host country of Brazil. The well-documented social unrest manifested through demonstrations and strikes is evidence that hosting a celebrated mega-event is not always seen favorably by all stakeholders.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    We will have to wait and see how the 2014 World Cup Organizing Committee performs. If everything runs smoothly and the event is crowned a success in terms of its organization and execution, I can imagine that would offer some reassurance not necessarily to the 2016 Olympic Games Organizing Committee but perhaps to the international community. The highly publicized problems encountered by Rio 2016 as well as the threat of the removal of the Games have led to increased suspicion regarding the country’s ability to actually host the Olympic Games. A well-run World Cup could restore some faith that Brazil can also host successful Olympics.

    But really, it is hard to answer this question as we are dealing with two different events. Even though the World Cup and the Olympics are undoubtedly the two highest profile sporting events in the world, differences in the number of participants, the scope and variety of event programming, other unique challenges and the overall footprint of each event make any direct comparison somewhat problematic.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Greece! (Can’t a girl dream?!)
    Back to All Experts

    Greg Letter

    Associate Professor of Sport Management, Adelphi University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    When looking at the facts below for the 2010 World Cup you can only assume that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will not only meet these numbers, but it should exceed them by a nice margin. The allure of one of the best soccer nations as the host will add intangible benefits to all the media coverage, no matter which platform is being used.

    This will assist sponsors leveraging activations because of the co-branding associations with FIFA World Cup Brazil. I say this because these are two of the strongest brands in soccer, FIFA WORLD CUP & Brazil. Lastly, advertisers and sponsors alike see the demographics of the 18-49 crowd as an extremely lucrative market because of their purchasing power.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    I do not see as much of a return as I do for the sponsors. Broadcast content through all platforms is the real money maker. It is the direction most sports leagues & teams must go to maximize revenues. The economic impact from tourism is more of a gamble because of the cost and inconvenience associated with travel, and not to mention political protests and societal outrage over stadium development causing a difficult climate for tourists.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    The home team, Brazil.
    Back to All Experts

    Thomas A. Baker III

    Associate Professor, International Center for Sport Management, University of Georgia

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    I do believe that there will be record interest in the U.S. for the 2014 World Cup. The reasons are varied. First, the growth of diverse populations in the U.S. (Latin, Asian, European) grows the sport from within. Second, soccer is now the second most popular sport for Americans from 12-24. Interest in European club football has never been higher in the U.S.

    For these reasons, I believe the sponsors are very correct, no matter what happens with the U.S. Men’s National Team. With that said, if the U.S. advances (which is highly unlikely), interest will grow even further as the World Cup starts to those who would otherwise not care.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Who knows. Legacies from major sport events like the World Cup or the Olympics are debatable. The reason for this is because the true legacies from these events might not be measurable until years (if not a decade) after. Even Atlanta’s Olympics were considered a failure for years until some started to realize that the city has transformed since into an economic force within the U.S., with a large number of Fortune 500 companies located there. Whether that’s attributable in any way to the Olympics is questionable, but there is a question.

    Coming into the World Cup, Brazil had an emerging economy. Will this and the Olympics help catapult the nation into a South American economic power? Or will these major events strangle or retard the economy? Right now, Brazil should be holding its breath in hoping that tourism is boosted by the World Cup. The problem is that that nation has such tremendous poverty and the crime (including murder) rate is frightening. Factor those problems into infrastructure issues (traffic in particular) and the tournament could turn off visitors rather than attract them.

    To be blunt, I don’t know if Brazil was ready for this large of an event and I wish FIFA was more socially responsible in awarding World Cups. The people of Brazil love football (soccer) as much (if not more) than any in the world, yet there is such strong resistance to the World Cup there, despite the fact that their beloved squad has a chance to win the whole thing. This is a lot of writing to say, I’m not confident that this World Cup will have a positive net effect for the country, in any measurable or immeasurable way.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    If they are honest with themselves, ‘even more nervous.’

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Not the United States, that’s for sure. This is a building Cup for the U.S. I believe that the best squad is Germany, but Brazil is favored. No European nation has ever won the Cup in South America. Also, keep an eye on dark horses Portugal (if Cristiano is healthy) and Belgium.
    Back to All Experts

    Mark R. Lyberger

    Associate Professor of Sport Administration, Kent State University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    In the case of the 2014 World Cup, there are a variety of advantageous factors for U.S. sponsors. First, is the time zone of the event itself, aligning well with the U.S. audience and exposure of the event. Secondly, is the continued growth of soccer awareness and its exchange on the global platform. Thirdly, is that historically, brand positioning has seamlessly aligned with the value the event creates. So, is a month long forum with a continuing act so bad? Fourthly, as we saw in Asia prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Brazil and South America are relatively untapped markets on the sponsorship scene.

    Therefore, Brazil offers an array of opportunities for sponsors to package retail and digital mediums long-term. It provides a cultural climate that beckons redefining the partnership exchange. Traditionally, social media networks attract attention, increase consumer interaction, and generate new and innovative ways to create dialog and feedback often not thought possible. The 2014 World Cup offers a plethora of communication opportunities on an international forum. Collectively when and if packaged correctly (i.e. with other long-term opportunities such as the Olympic Games) the forum provides U.S. companies with an array of opportunities in an international market that has not yet begun to reach its true potential.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    The net-effect will produce an array of long-term benefits that will enable Brazil to be more competitive in a global environment. One must acknowledge the massive upfront expenditures (well over $13 billion) and the concerns affiliated with the country’s recession, but ultimately the forum can catalyze the nation’s brand effect.

    Inclusion and communication are two key factors. Too often event planners and host countries focus on the short-lived impact, neglecting local technical and human resources. The World Cup is not a one day event; it is a month long, affording a variety of branding opportunities for the host county to showcase their nation’s pride. This is an opportunity for the host country to enhance its level of interaction not just internationally, but, locally and regionally as well.

    These massive expenditures do not just provide an opportunity for a country to improve its reputation; it is an investment in the country’s infrastructure, enhancing forms of public transit and delivery. Criticisms will go away if proclamations are communicated and inclusionary. Interactions locally, regionally and internationally will all have an impact; however, it is difficult for anyone to argue, that if interaction is positive, the ultimate outcome is enhanced brand effect for the continent and nation as a whole. Hosting will afford Brazil as well as others in South America an opportunity to raise their international profile, hence awareness.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Many feel that the 2014 World Cup is just the ultimate preparatory showcase for the 2016 Olympic; this is not the case. For in many instances, the World Cup – the first of the two big shows – may have more obstacles to overcome. Therefore, I would hope that Olympic organizers, though nervous, are consciously hoping for success.

    Will there be lessons learned? Absolutely. Is the World Cup going to provide answers and foresight? Absolutely. A variety of demonstrations will be on display, but understanding and controlling animosity will only provide value for future planning.

    The 2014 World Cup provides an opportunity for sponsors, sponsees and the host country to begin to link and identify long-term benefits. A variety of synergies exist in hosting the two events. These relate to development (i.e., hotels, stadiums and living communities); infrastructure (i.e., telecommunication & transportation), and the use of human resources. Brazil has the world’s 6th largest economy; however, growth as of late has been less than 1% – a cause for concern. Traditionally, Brazil has not been an everyday stop but an exotic tourism destination. The 2014 World Cup serves as a catalyst to ignite and promote long-term development. This development can provide a variety of advantages for Olympic preparation.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Though I ultimately have a bias and desire for the U.S., the forum always affords exposure to a variety of top competitors. I expect teams such Germany and Italy will perform well but, if I had to identify a favorite, I may lend my hand to the host country Brazil. I also believe that the further they progress the broader the impact for the host country.
    Back to All Experts

    Carlos A. Primo Braga

    Professor of International Political Economy, International Institute for Management Development

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Interest in football (soccer) has been increasing in the USA over the last 20 years. Arguably, it has reached a critical mass (in terms of a fan base) and economic relevance (as illustrated by the existence of dedicated soccer TV channels) and, as usual, interest in the sport peaks during World Cups. The U.S. team comes to Brazil with a good FIFA ranking (#13), but it will face tough competition in Group G, confronting world class teams like Germany (#2) and Portugal.(#4).

    In any case, there is no doubt that this time there will be a much larger following of the World Cup in the USA (and the American media will be much more present in contrast with the previous World Cup hosted by Brazil, 1950, when the New York Times did not print the news of the victory of the USA over England (1x0), because it thought it was a hoax).

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    The World Cup is a big ‘party.’ Brazilians are famous for organizing good parties. The current mood in Brazil, however, is not good, reflecting internal political tensions and criticisms about government’s mistaken priorities. Moreover, some segments of the labor force are using the event as leverage to obtain wage increases under the threat of strikes.

    Assuming that no major disruption happens and the Brazilian team fares well, there will be a positive boost in terms of consumption, but nothing that will make a major difference in terms of economic performance in 2014. And it is important to recognize that the World Cup will not make a significant difference as far as infrastructure development is concerned. The net economic outcome will probably be negative (given the construction of several ’white elephants’ in cities that will not be in a position to fully utilize their new stadiums after the World Cup). Again, it may be a price worth paying if the overall ‘party’ goes well in terms of positive impact on Brazil’s ‘brand’.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Probably more nervous, since every potential mishap will increase the pressure and highlight the many infrastructure (hard and soft) bottlenecks that exist in Brazil and that will not disappear in the short term. At the same time, the World Cup will give the Olympics organizers a good mapping/early warning of potential problems that need special attention in the next two years as Rio gets ready for the games.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    Brazil.
    Back to All Experts

    Clifford J. Shultz, II

    Professor and Charles H. Kellstadt Chair, Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    It depends on several factors, of course. What are sponsors' expectations and objectives, what is the nature of their sponsorship, what measures are they implementing and what do they value? That said, sponsors, or at least their imagery, will be visible to millions of Americans and literally billions of global consumers, highly involved with arguably the world's greatest spectacle, sporting or otherwise.

    Brand awareness will be enhanced; fans of the WC, which are growing in number in the U.S., likely will invest positive attributes in sponsors. Sponsors will be seen as ‘big’ global players, which can make them attractive to many consumers and investors. Whether that transfers to more sales of the sponsors' goods and services, remains to be seen.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Again, it depends. If all goes well – stadia are completed, no violence, no strikes – then the country will ‘look good’ to the outside world and Brazil's ’brand’ will be enhanced. However, even if things don't go well – strikes, disruptions, etc. – these events also can be catalysts for policy change that can enhance the well-being of Brazilians, especially people who have no chance of actually attending a match. Business likely will be good for some hoteliers, restaurants, bars, etc.

    The longterm effect remains to be seen, as it was/is in South Africa after 2010. Comparatively, the net effect of the 2006 World Cup on Germany seems to have been quite good, with lasting images of efficiency, good fan behavior, a fun and well run tournament, etc.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Once again, it depends. There are too many uncertainties at this point to comment meaningfully. However, the mere fact that there are so many uncertainties, the likes of which were not seen in Germany, raises serious questions and presumably concerns. A ‘successful’ World Cup 2014, bodes well for the next Olympics. An unsuccessful one? Well, draw your own conclusions.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    My heart is with USA and Germany. If I were a betting man, which I am not, my money would be on Brazil. Related to this final entry, sponsors aren't the only ones ‘placing big bets’; if anything is certain, we can be confident the bookies, legal and otherwise, will do just fine.
    Back to All Experts

    John Vincent

    Professor & Graduate Coordinator of Sport Management, University of Alabama

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Given the increasing popularity of soccer in the United States and the improved media coverage, it seems a reasonable bet. ESPN’s live game coverage runs into prime time, which should boost TV ratings. Given the global reach and the ‘carnivalesque’ appeal of a World Cup in Brazil, an integrated sponsorship package, including a media advertising campaign and hospitality makes sense for multi-national corporations.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    In Brazil much of the publicity in the buildup to the World Cup has been negative. The enormous cost of building the new stadiums, which may prove to be white elephants after the month long World Cup tournament, has generated a political opposition movement and activated public outcry and protests in Brazil. Opponents argue that the money could have been spent in areas that would have had a more lasting impact for Brazilians, particularly those living in abject poverty. The history of recent Olympic Games, such as Sydney, 2000, and Athens, 2004, and the most recent World Cup in Africa in 2010, suggest that the legacy may be limited to at best a temporary national feel good factor if the home nation does well. This appears to place enormous pressure on Brazil to not only win the tournament, but to win it playing an attractive style of soccer, a style reminiscent of the great Brazilian teams of the past. This may prove to be a tall order, even for Brazil.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Up until the last couple of weeks the predominant Twitter theme hashtags have suggested that the World Cup would not even happen in Brazil. Given that, notwithstanding infrastructure problems, it will happen and this should be somewhat reassuring to the 2016 Olympic organizers.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    History suggests it will be a South American team that will win the World Cup, which favors Brazil and Argentina. An outside bet might be Belgium. They have some excellent players, so if they can play well as a team, they could surprise more traditional soccer powers.
    Back to All Experts

    Joseph S. Tulchin

    Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    Although it is by no means a sure thing, I believe holding the World Cup – and then the Olympic Games two years later – will be an enormous boost to Brazilian national spirit and, not incidentally, to the political support for President Dilma Rousseff. The further into the draw the national team goes the better the Brazilians will feel about the effort made and the costs incurred.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Mistakes have been made and scandals almost certainly will appear after the games, but the latest reports suggest that most of the venues will be ready and that the games will be put on with nothing but the sort of glitches and hitches that affect all huge sporting events. There will be a huge security effort, especially in Rio and Sao Paulo, and that will cast a shadow over the games, but the failure to protect the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors is not an acceptable option.

    In the long run, this effort will help build Brazil’s reputation as a global player. It may even embolden the Rousseff government to play a more active role in world affairs.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    As to who will win, well, 'Deus e Brasileiro.'
    Back to All Experts

    Michael Goldman

    Assistant Professor of Sport Management, University of San Francisco

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    The interest in the World Cup will be mainly related to the performance of the U.S. National team, especially among non-soccer fans. Traditional soccer fans within the U.S. will tune in anyway to follow the best national teams and best players in the world, as they currently do with European club rivalries. The game between Spain and the Netherlands from 3:00 ET on Friday June 13, for example, can be expected to feature strongly, as will the semifinals and final in early July. A 2011 survey by ESPN ranked soccer as the second most popular sport for 12-24 year olds in the U.S. (behind gridiron football), while 40% of the Major League Soccer TV audience is under 34. Facebook announced earlier this year that the U.S. had the second highest number of soccer fans on their platform at almost 50 million, with half of these tuning in to the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, up 44% on the 2006 final in Germany.

    For U.S. team supporters and traditional non-soccer fans, the focus will be more on the progression of the U.S. National team. The six-episode ESPN series, "Inside: U.S. Soccer's March to Brazil," will most likely contribute to greater sport-fan interest and a stronger psychological connection with the 23 men representing their country. The new $90m per year ESPN, Fox and Univision MLS broadcast deal is further evidence of the growth of interest in soccer, which can be expected to translate into greater audiences for the World Cup. If the U.S. beats Ghana on Monday June 16, broadcast perfectly for a U.S. audience from 6:00 ET, one can expect interest to grow further.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    The research on hosting mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup is mixed. On balance, I suspect the net effect may be a touch negative. On the positive side, successfully hosting the tournament often results in a significantly enhanced global profile, fast-tracked infrastructure investments, and an additional tourism 'high season'. On the down side, the World Cup may displace other non-sport tourists, redirect limited public funding away from more pressing socio-economic priorities, and expose embarrassing political divides and social tensions.

    Some research on emerging market hosts of mega-events suggests that the benefits do not outweigh the negatives and that responsible emerging market countries such as Brazil, South Africa and Russia should not offer to host these kinds of events. The past two decades have seen Brazil become a more equal society, down from the most unequal society in the world in the early 1990s to the 17th most unequal society, just behind Papua New Guinea.

    Despite this impressive progress, the past few months have highlighted the sharp and difficult inequalities within Brazil's major urban centers. With thousands of the world's media descending on Brazil searching for soccer and non-soccer headlines, it is very likely that these complex problems will feature strongly in the dominant media narrative.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    I expect the dominant feeling to be one of a reality-check. The Rio 2016 organizing team will learn some valuable lessons about transport logistics and perception management from the games and activities in the city this time around. They may also gain valuable insights about managing the global media constituency and residents of Rio.

    The Olympics athletes and visitors will be quite different, as will be the schedule of events and game infrastructure. The Rio 2016 team needs to be ready to amplify and encourage the positive associations over the coming weeks, while also preparing to shift the focus away from any difficulties by emphasizing the differences between the two events. I would expect a number of the Rio-based World Cup event managers to find a natural home as part of the Rio 2016 team in order to take advantage of lessons learned.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    The odds seem to be on a Germany and Spain final, although Brazil may be able to use home field advantage to take center stage on July 13th. The injury list is growing, which is likely to impact early predictions. At this point, my sense is that Germany may win their fourth title.
    Back to All Experts

    Thomas J. Vicino

    Associate Professor of Political Science, Northeastern University

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    After Brazilians, Americans have purchased more tickets (over 150,000 tickets) to World Cup matches than any other country. We live in a more globalized society and interest in the game seems to be larger than in previous years.

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    This is the $15 billion question. The Brazilian government has heavily invested in the World Cup. Brazil is in the midst of a social revolution as many residents have questioned and challenged the government’s economic development policies. Millions of Brazilians descended into the streets last year in June to protest political corruption, poor social welfare state, and lack of adequate public services. The public debate continues today, and we’re like to see many protests as the games are played.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    The Olympics organizers have actually been worried for quite some time. Brazil is barely ready for the World Cup—infrastructure projects have been delayed or canceled, and stadiums are still construction zones. The airports have received a lot of investment, but they, too, are in midst of heavy renovations.

    The Olympics organizers will likely re-assess after the World Cup games about the readiness of the host city, Rio de Janeiro. This assessment will, in part, depend upon how smoothly the World Cup games go.

    Who do you think will win the World Cup?

    There are many competitive teams this year, but Brazil’s is especially competitive. Brazil has won five times, and it would be exciting to see the team win on their own turf.
    Back to All Experts

    Melissa H. Birch

    Associate Professor of Business, University of Kansas

    Sponsors seem to be placing big bets on there being record U.S. interest in the World Cup -- will they be right?

    Yes! Interest in soccer has been growing in the U.S. in recent years and Americans have always liked Brazil. The food! Consider the growing popularity in US cities of Brazilian steakhouses like Fogo de Chau and the increasing sales of cachaca and caipirinha mix in the US. The music! Think samba, bossa nova and also funk. The beaches! Think Rio and Sugarloaf. On the more serious side: ethanol, oil, and the Amazon all keep Brazil in the news in the U.S.

    So, when championship soccer is going to be played in a country we generally like, and especially when New York fashion houses are telling us the players will soon be models, I think interest in the World Cup will be high. It is estimated that almost half of the world’s population, more than 3.2 billion people, watched the final match of the 2010 South African World Cup. I’d expect something similar for the 2014 games. After all, Brazil and soccer just go together!

    What do you think the net effect of Brazil hosting the World Cup will be on the country?

    In anticipation of the World Cup and the Olympics, Brazil has invested some $15 billion in infrastructure improvements along with a number of new stadiums for the games. The modernization and expansion of major airports was badly needed. Investments in transportation, including highways but also public transportation and light rail systems, will improve the quality of urban life, reduce energy consumption and enhance sustainability. These construction projects created jobs during a period of sluggishness in the global economy and their sheer scale encouraged technological innovation and stretched existing organizational capabilities.

    All this will leave a positive legacy for Brazil. The big question has to do with the stadiums. Some seem to be too large for longterm use. But Brazil outgrows its infrastructure pretty quickly and the use of these facilities by other Latin American teams for training and exhibition games in the coming years may make the investment break even. All in all, considering the impact of the infrastructure legacy and the economic activity generated by the World Cup itself, the net effect of the World Cup should be positive.

    Do you think the 2014 World Cup will leave 2016 Olympics organizers feeling reassured or even more nervous?

    Brazilians always find a way around an obstacle! And while the World Cup 2014 might not roll out exactly as envisioned by FIFA, I imagine most fans will have a great experience and many will plan to come back to Brazil in the future—maybe even for the Olympics!

    Brazil provides a great setting for entertainment and Brazilians are wonderful hosts, proud of their country and eager to share. Both the World Cup and the Olympics purport to be international endeavors and the 2014 World Cup will no doubt have a distinctive Brazilian tenor, but isn’t that the reason to hold the events in Brazil?
    Author
    User
    John Kiernan is Senior Writer & Editor at Evolution Finance. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Journalism, a minor in Sport Commerce & Culture,…
    1221 Wallet Points