For the first time since 2018, countries from all over the world will come together and unite to watch one sporting event: the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Starting on November 21st, 32 national teams will compete with the hope of hoisting up the World Cup, the gold trophy that is awarded to the winners of the tournament. Hosted in Qatar, this is the first time the tournament will be held in the Northern Hemisphere. They are hosting this tournament during their winter due to the summer time in Qatar becoming so overwhelmingly hot that it could have become a safety concern for players and attendees. On top of that, this is the first time that the World Cup will be hosted “in-season” as all leagues around the world are in the midst of their own season and will now be forced to take a break from competitions to allow players to compete. This World Cup will break down a lot of barriers and set a new standard for future tournaments to follow in terms of the venues, activations, and sponsorships that are incorporated into the month-long competition.
Recently, Saudi Arabian countries have been known for having lucrative amounts of money invested in different sporting events around the world. The PIF, Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, has backed the Premier League club Newcastle and the newly formed Golf league, LIV Golf. The Middle East is no stranger to spending money on sports, but Qatar has taken this to the next level. It is being reported that Qatar is spending a whopping $200 billion on various infrastructure projects that include stadiums, highways, and hotels. In response, football expert Kristiyan said, “Although Qatar is known for being one of the wealthiest countries in the region, no one expected it to spend that much money.” In comparison, in 2018 when Russia held the World Cup, they spent $14.2 billion; a significant difference when looking at Qatar's spending, but this was not without cause. Qatar built seven brand new stadiums to host all games in their country, but the infrastructure alone is not the only record-setting number at play. It is being reported that the World Cup has a total prize money pool worth roughly $440 million. The winners will receive $42 million, a $4 million difference from 2018’s world cup when France received $38 million. The prize money alone amounts to over a quarter of FIFA’s budgeted investment for the event. FIFA and Qatar are not the only people shelling out large sums of money; companies around the world want to get involved in this global competition and do so by sponsoring the event in different capacities.
With the FIFA World Cup being a global tournament, it holds unique aspects that not many other tournaments or leagues have. With 32 different countries coming together, sponsoring this event is a privilege for companies. They have the ability now to reach so many different consumers from all over and bring awareness to their brand on a global scale. These companies are now not only able to increase their brand equity, but also create brand loyalty and cement themselves in the lives of the consumers. To do that, however, takes a large investment. For example, India’s largest Ed-tech company, Byju’s, has become the first Indian official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup after paying approximately $30-$40 million. While this is a first for Byju and Indian-based companies, certain companies like Budweiser have a long-standing relationship with FIFA World Cup and has been the official beer sponsor for the last 25 years. Additionally, companies such as Hisense, Vivo, Mcdonalds, and Crpyto.com, have all become official sponsors for the FIFA World Cup starting on November 21st.
On the consumer side of things, FIFA and Qatar have been working hand-in-hand to plan and construct different fan entertainment zones and activations. Throughout this event, there will be six different activation sites: Official Fan Fest - Al Biddah Park, The Corniche, Lusail Boulevard, 974 Beach Club, Arcadia Spectacular, and ARAVIA. The most notable of these is the fan fest at Al Biddah Park as it is reportedly the largest fan fest in 2022 and is relatively new as it was finished in 2018. At this park, fans will be able to purchase food and drinks, enjoy different entertainment, and tune into the matches. While it is important for Qatar to be able to hold this event in their country, it is even more important to be able to put on a show for these fans and encourage them to come back in the future. At this time of the year, Qatar will be a tourist hot spot and it is important to be able to show these fans the beauty of the country and the fun and memories that will come along with it.
Off the pitch, Qatar and helping parties have got everything figured out, but on the pitch, there is everything to play for. As the reigning champs, France has the second-best odds of +600 (6/1), according to PointsBet. After coming off a heartbreaking loss in the UEFA Euro tournament in 2020 to Switzerland, France has all the makings to become back-to-back World Cup champs but they have a red-hot Brazil team in their way. Brazil’s last loss came a little more than a year ago as they lost to Argentina in the Copa America tournament. This Brazilian team has vengeance on their mind as they have to make up for their quarter-final loss in the 2018 World Cup and the 7-1 thrashing they endured in the 2014 World Cup. Now for the hometown team, the US team is looking to make some noise after missing out on the 2018 World Cup in a disappointing fashion. While the US squad does not stack up to the other European teams, they have a lot to look forward to in the future as the average age of the squad is 24 years old. While the odds certainly favor Brazil and France, this tournament is truly anyone's to win.
With Qatar getting ready to host the 22nd-ever World Cup, companies and fans around the world cannot wait to get in on the action. From fan zones and entertainment hubs to sponsorships and partnerships, the World Cup is truly one of the most unique and special tournaments that sports have to offer. With November 21st right around the corner, we will see who will be crowned champion of the world.