The financial benefits of a World Cup win. How Qatar 2022’s prize pot extends beyond the pitch

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Simon Torkington, Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • Japan’s FIFA World Cup victory over Spain sent Nikkei share prices soaring.
  • The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has a $440 million prize fund for competing teams.
  • The winning team will receive $42 million, with the runners-up taking $30 million.

Japan’s victory over Spain at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar brought predictable celebrations in Tokyo and a less predictable spike in shares on the Nikkei stock exchange.

As the matchday VAR team pored over TV feeds of Kaoru Mitoma’s highly contested cutback for Japan’s winning goal, list prices for Japanese sports broadcasters, pub chains and sportswear companies were moving upwards. The Japanese share surge was just one example of the financial windfalls that can ripple out from moments of football glory.

The biggest prize in global sport

By any metric you care to choose, football is the world’s most popular sport. According to World Population Review, “the sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries”.

Football truly is the global game. Research from Statista found the highest level of interest in the Middle East, where the tournament is being staged for the first time in 2022.

Billions of fans around the world follow either club or country football.

With popularity on that scale, the potential to create vast income streams is obvious – and footballing authorities worldwide have snatched that opportunity like Lionel Messi pouncing on a loose pass.

Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera reports that the 2022 World Cup will generate a record $7.5 billion for FIFA, football’s world governing body. That’s an increase of $1 billion on the revenue from the 2018 tournament that was staged in Russia. So who shares in the vast financial windfall that the World Cup brings?

The World Cup prize pot

The total prize fund for the 2022 World Cup is $440 million, according to Bloomberg. The team that lifts the famous golden trophy on 18 December will receive $42 million, while the dejection of the losing team will be softened to an extent by a payout of $30 million.

Even the teams that failed to make it through the early group stage of the tournament will pocket $9 million each.

Given the vast wealth of many of the world’s top players, the financial prize takes second place behind the greatest sporting achievement the beautiful game can offer. After winning the World Cup with France in 2018, striker Kylian Mbappé donated his winnings to charities that provide sporting opportunities to disadvantaged and differently abled children. The entire England team did likewise after losing to Croatia in the 2018 semi-final.

As well as paying players for their contribution to the tournament, FIFA also offers a payout to the clubs they play for in leagues around the world.

FIFA's club benefits programme

Players and their clubs are just some of the beneficiaries of the FIFA World Cup. Image: FIFA

Under FIFA’s Club Benefits Programme, 416 football clubs from 63 associations will share in a $209 million windfall. FIFA says it makes these payments to recognize the value clubs bring to the successful staging of a World Cup tournament.

Clubs apply for compensation via a digital platform, “with approximately $10,000 to be received for each one of the days the relevant player remains with his national team during the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the official preparation period. The compensation will be paid to all clubs for which the footballer has played in the two years prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

A shop window for footballing talent

A commanding performance at the World Cup can also open up huge opportunities for young or relatively unknown players. By playing well in front of a TV audience of billions, a player’s price tag can go through the roof.

Even before a ball was kicked in Qatar, England’s 19-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham was attracting the attention of the world’s biggest clubs. ESPN proclaimed Bellingham the most valuable player at Qatar 2022, with an estimated transfer value of $212 million.

Given Bellingham’s mesmerizing performances at the World Cup, his current club, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, will be expecting an even bigger payout when the English Premier League’s biggest clubs come calling after the tournament.

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