Thesis: Bringing the Fifa Soccer World Cup

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¶ … Bringing the FIFA Soccer World Cup to a City

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Bringing the Soccer World Cup to a City

A large number of countries consider applying to host the FIFA World Cup and a significant number actually make a formal bid for this quadrennial tournament. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages to hosting the World Cup, this paper will begin with a brief overview of the FIFA World Cup. This will then be followed with the economic and social advantages to a city that hosts this event, using both literature specifically concerning the World Cup and other quadrennial global sporting events -- the Olympics. Lastly, the disadvantages to hosting the World Cup will be explored.

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Bringing the FIFA Soccer World Cup to a City

Soccer is a major sport in countries around the globe; however, the sport simply does not have the same following in the United States. Other sports, in America, are big business. The National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), NASCAR Racing, and various collegiate sports all bring in billions of dollars every year for cities that host these sports. Competition for championship events is often fierce. Even global sporting events, such as the Olympics, sees cities clamoring for an opportunity to host these prestigious sporting extravaganzas. However, what are the advantages and disadvantages to bringing the FIFA Soccer World Cup, specifically to a city, in America?

A large number of countries consider applying to host the FIFA World Cup and a significant number actually make a formal bid for this quadrennial tournament. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages to hosting the World Cup, this paper will begin with a brief overview of the FIFA World Cup. This will then be followed with the economic and social advantages to a city that hosts this event, using both literature specifically concerning the World Cup and other quadrennial global sporting events -- the Olympics. Lastly, the disadvantages to hosting the World Cup will be explored.

FIFA Soccer World Cup

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Soccer World Cup is the world's biggest sporting event, second only to the Olympic games. When considering television audience, the World Cup is actually larger than the Olympics ("2010 FIFA," 2009). The first FIFA World Cup was held in Uruquay, in 1930. The event was developed by a group of French soccer administrators, in the 1920s, led by Jules Rimlet. The idea was simple -- bring the world's strongest soccer teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The World Cup was a success, but was put to a stop for 12 years, due to the Second World War ("The history," 2009).

When the FIFA World Cup resumed, in 1950, the event once again captured the world's attention. From 1958 to 1998, the World Cup was hosted alternately in Europe and the Americas. In May 1996, the Executive Committee broke with tradition and awarded the hosting of the 2002 World Cup to partner countries Korea and Japan ("The history," 2009).

To date, there have been 16 World Cups held, with seven different winners. The global appeal of the event is evident. More than 37 billion people watched the 1998 World Cup, in France. This includes approximately 1.3 billion that watched the final match. More than 2.7 million people physically attended the 64 matches in the French stadium ("The history," 2009). Although the World Cup does not have the same level of following in America as it does in other countries, particularly in Europe and South America, there is still a large contingent of American fans.

According to Sandomir (2006) the 2006 Wold Cup final match attracted 16.9 million American viewers. This was a 152% climb from the 2002 Wold Cup hosted in Japan, which was shown in the morning. The 16.9 million viewers figure was 31% better than the 1998 World Cup, when France hosted, and on par with the 1994 World Cup that was hosted in Pasadena, California. Of those 16.9 million viewers, 11.9 million watched the exciting finale on ABC, while 5 million watched on Univision. Looking at how this figure compares with other sports in America, the popularity of soccer in America may be underestimated.

The 2006 World Cup was broadcast at 2 p.m. On a Sunday, and exceeded the four million average audience the month prior, for the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. This viewership was also extremely close to the 17.5 million Americans that watched the NCAA men's basketball champions game, or the 17.1 million viewers that watched the Chicago White Sox play the Houston Astros, for the World Series in 2005, for the MLB. Of course, as Sandomir (2006) notes, these figures pale in comparison to the viewership of the Super Bowl, which in 2006 reached 91 million people. However, clearly there is a significant interest in soccer and the World Cup in America.

Advantages to Hosting the World Cup

Sturgess and Brady (2006) surmise that hosting the FIFA World Cup is a matter of great national prestige. However, despite the prestigiousness that comes along with being chosen for one of the premier sporting events in the world, there are a variety of advantages for cities hosting the World Cup. These advantages include immediate economic benefits, social benefits, and long-term macroeconomic national benefits once the World Cup is over. One only has to look at previous host cities, and the rewards they've reaped, as well as South Africa's planned benefits with the 2010 World Cup, to begin to see some of the advantages a host city may garner.

In general, the short-term and long-term economic benefits a city can expect from hosting the FIFA World Cup, according to Sturgess and Brady (2006) include: increased GDP and increased employment, that can give the host nation an economic boost. For South Africa, it is anticipated that there will be 1 job created for every 12 new tourists that visit the country. According to the South African Tourism board, this could equate to 16,000 new jobs ("Business tourism," 2008). Previous studies focus on the size of the demand boost that comes from hosting a sporting event like the World Cup. With 3 million visitors coming to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup one can begin to appreciate the demand boost that would come from such an event. Items such as the longer-term impact of investment into improvements of the nation's sporting facilities and other infrastructure, that typically precedes an event like this, have to be taken into consideration. There is also the positive economic impact that comes from the additional consumer expenditures that are a result of visitors to the sporting event itself, when the World Cup takes place. This economic boon is then used for social development of advantages.

In South Africa, it is estimated that the 2010 World Cup will inject an estimated 21.3 billion rand into the South African economy. 12.7 billion rand of this is direct investment. An anticipated 7.2 billion rand in taxes will be added to the state. This money will be used in a variety of ways, including the transformation infrastructure. The money will also be used to rehabilitate some decaying city areas, as well as develop a variety of legacy facilities centered on sports development and sports tourism. It is hoped that the World Cup will bring in 200,000 new tourists. Many of these new visitors to the country will be on business tourism incentive packages ("Business tourism," 2008).

This type of investment into a country's infrastructure and facilities that will continue to serve the country for decades to come, and is a significant social advantage of hosting the World Cup. In South Africa, hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup is going to see a variety of multi-billion rand infrastructure projects for the country and the City of Cape Town specifically. These include a new stadium, transportation infrastructure improvements, and a variety of other upgrades, including human resource development ("The 2010," 2006). Five of South Africa's soccer stadiums will see major renovations, for the 2010 World Cup. Two completely new stadiums will be built -- one at Mbombela in Mpumalanga, and one in the Nelson Mandela Metro, in the Eastern Cape. Three others will be rebuilt, with two becoming completely new multi-sport facilities, and the stadium at Green Point receiving a retractable dome ("2010 FIFA," 2009).

These improvements will make Cape Town, and South Africa, a more desirable business and leisure destination for travelers, investors, and residents, long past the final goal of the 2010 World Cup ("2010 FIFA," 2008).South Africa will spend 5 billion rand on building and renovating ten World Cup stadiums. More than 5 billion rand will be spent on upgrading the country's airports. In addition, 3.5 billion rand is earmarked for improvements to South Africa's road and rail network. This will include a new high-speed rail link, the Gautrain,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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