The business of football: 10 facts in digits


In Brazil where football is elevated to almost a religious level, the pressure on the hosts this year is immense. As a record-breaking 5 time world winner of the trophy – more than any other nation, they are putting a lot of effort to meet the highest standards not only in the game, but also outside the stadiums, spending an incredible US $14 billion (£8.34bn) in the preparation of the event.

Football has historically been a big theme for Brazil, deeply embedded in their national culture. Since the last time the country hosted the tournament in 1950, Brazil has won the trophy 5 times, winning its well-deserved reputation of the worlds’ most successful football team. However, the bitter experience from the 1950 final when Brazil lost against Uruguay in the last few minutes of the game still haunts the nation.

This year both the team’s present-day image and past history will play a key role in their drive to win. The 2014 tournament poses an immense pressure on them both as a team and organizer, hence their huge investment to ensure the perfect conditions for the event.

The opening challenge

Just a few days before the grand opening, however this proves largely challenging. Brazil’s city Sao Paulo, which hosts the opening game, faces the subway workers’ strike causing real chaos in the city’s streets. Thousands of protesters, fires and subsequent traffic jams are among the greatest problems that pose a threat to the smooth start of the games, which is expected to receive up to 61,600 visitors on the opening day.

The Brazilian authorities have dedicated a large amount of the preparation costs to security. The measure is intended to tackle the street crime and social unrest resulting from the unexpected strikes and the general attitude of the local population against the event. The high costs for organizing the World Cup are largely associated with corruption and inefficiency. Many Brazilians are blaming the government for the disproportionate investment, glorifying the sports event at the expense of largely neglected growing social problems.

To counter the potential negative impact of the current social affairs on the tournament, the government has mobilized 100,000 police and 57,000 military personnel. They will manage order in the stadiums and surrounding areas, as well as the hotels where the teams reside. Fans attending the games can rest assured as further 20,000 private officials will also collaborate to ensure the public security during the matches.

The spirit of Brazil

Away from the scenes of disorder, millions of people are looking forward to cheering on the games and the festive atmosphere is quickly building up. Growing excitement and traditional rhythms in Brazil’s host cities mark the start of the world’s biggest event for summer 2014.

As a recognition of the organizer’s efforts, Brazil is named the “first” and “most” on several occasions related to this year’s event. Most of them relate to finance, which is the primary reason the country’s authorities are largely criticized for their immense spending. Not all of the mentions are monetary or negative, though. Here’s our selection of 10 interesting numeric facts to spark your interest and give you a few pointers for further discussion.

1. The cost of the tournament

This World Cup will be the most expensive ever, worth around US $14 billion (£8.3bn) – nearly as much as the last three championships together – $5 billion in 2002, $6 billion in 2006 and $4 billion in 2010.

2. The most expensive team

Brazil has the most expensive team in this World Cup based on market value of £409.6 million, followed closely by Spain and Argentina. In comparison, the English team comes 8th with a total value of £251.6 million. (Stats by Pluri Consultoria)

3. The value of players

The players with the highest market value are Lionel Messi at £112.7 million and Cristiano Ronaldo – £83.9 million. Brazil’s Neymar comes at number three with the significantly lower £54.39 million.

4. The number of stadiums

12 cities and their stadiums are dedicated as a base for the national teams to reside and show their best skills during the four weeks. The usual count that FIFA allows is 8 to 10, however, on this occasion the sites number exceed the average.

5. The longest distance

Teams and fans are likely to travel the longest distances ever – nearly as much as halfway around the world without even leaving Brazil. Due to the long distances between the cities, players and supporters will travel up to several thousand miles to visit each game, spending on average 2 hours, £120 and 1,000 miles on each flight. It is estimated that the winning team would travel around 12,000 miles – nearly half of the Earth’s circumference.

6. The world’s first

The Maracanã Stadium (pronounced with an accent on the final A) in Rio de Janeiro is the first purpose built venue that will host a World Cup final for a second time after 1950. None of the other four countries which hosted the games more than once – Mexico, Italy, France and Germany – ever used the same site twice.

7. The reconstruction investment

In its inauguration Maracanã was the world’s largest stadium with a record breaking capacity of 205,000 attendants hosted during the 1950 final. It has since undergone a $536 million renovation project over the last few years and is now suited to accommodate up to 78,838 spectators for the big final on 13th July 2014.

According to, the total spent on all 12 stadiums for construction and renovation is US $3.4 billion. This represents a third of the total investment the country has made for improving transport infrastructure, telecommunications and tourism conditions for the World Cup.

8. The new technology

Score accuracy will be more precise than ever – a new goal-line technology will be introduced for the first time in this World Cup. Fourteen cameras will monitor the game dynamics closely with seven on each side of the field. A vibrating watch connected to the system will ensure the referee is alerted appropriately when a goal is scored to prevent controversies like the one with Frank Lampard’s goal from the 2010 World Cup.

Additional ultra high definition technology with 4K resolution will be used to record several matches as well as the official film of this year’s tournament.

9. The awards fund

The total award fund for this year’s World Cup amounts to US $576 million (£343.12m), a proportion of which is intended to go to the domestic clubs of the players representing their national team. This practice was first introduced in the last tournament in South Africa and now amounts to £41.70 million. Overall, there is a 37% increase in the awards fund compared to 2010.

Prior to the tournament £28.59 million has been allocated to the 32 nations to cover their preparation costs – £0.89 million each. The first 16 teams eliminated during the group stage will receive  £4.77 million each, while the prize for the next 8 will be £5.36 million. The 4 teams that do not make the quarter finals will be paid £8.34 million each.

The final 4 should share the glory as well as the well deserved £60.76 million – £11.9m and £13.11m for the 4th and the 3th placed respectively. The runner up will receive £14.89 million, just £6 million less than the next World Cup champion nation: they will be awarded £20.85 million for winning the planet’s most famous football tournament.

10. The sponsors’ revenue

Here is how FIFA are able to afford the generous prizes. They expect to generate revenues of around US $4 billion (£2.38bn). A third of this will be raised from the 22 official sponsors, each of which pays an annual fee for a varying degree of affiliation. A further £1.55 billion will flow in from television broadcasting rights.

According to FIFA’s 3-tier sponsorship scheme, 6 of the major global brands will have a “partner” status. They will jointly contribute £434.86 million and gain the highest level of affiliation at the World Cup event. The next 8 brands, called “sponsors” will generate a further £297.85 million revenue for FIFA in return for the exclusive rights to associate their brands with the tournament. Lastly, there are 8 “national supporters” – domestic Brazilian brands, donating £99.98 million to raise the final £0.83 billion sponsorship revenue.


If you liked this post, you may want to find out what our 2014 recipe to football success was here: Heading for the final: A World Cup recipe for success.

Keep an eye on our blog for more articles around the tournament. Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we’ll keep you informed and entertained during the next few weeks. We’re looking forward to seeing your replies, comments and your own business experience with the greatest football event of 2014!