VIEWERSHIP: More than 3.5 billion viewers are expected to tune in to unique broadcast coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. FIFA President Gianni Infantino is expecting the tournament to be the most-watched in World Cup history, estimating five billion viewers will tune in to follow the event. In the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, Infantino said the last FIFA World Cup in Russia was watched by four billion people and the last FIFA Women’s World Cup was seen by 1.2 billion.
“This World Cup in Qatar will be watched by five billion people, way above half of the world’s population. All these people who follow and pursue the same passion, they all feel the same way and they all know that football has this uniting force,” Infantino said.
EVENT IN DAYS: At 29 days from start to finish (20 November to 18 December), Qatar 2022 will be the shortest World Cup since Argentina 1978, meaning that the hosts had to squeeze in four games most days during the group stages — at 10, 13, 16, and 19 GMT. Previous editions had had three a day. There is also no turnaround time between the groups and the knockout stages, with the last 16 starting the day after the group stages end.
MEDIA COVERAGE: According to FIFA, 13,000 journalists have applied for media accreditation to cover the biggest sports event in the world. The figure includes, press, photographers, broadcasters, and digital media.
CARBON FOOTPRINT: Some 3.6 million tons of CO2 will be emitted during the tournament. It was 2.1 million in Russia.
220 BILLION EUROS: Qatar 2022 now becomes the most expensive in the history of the world’s most prestigious sports event, with a total cost of 220 billion euros, five times more than the previous seven editions combined: USA 1994, France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018. Before Qatar, Brazil 2014 was the most expensive at 15 million euros.
Most of the expenditures were spent on building the host country’s infrastructure including six air-conditioned, brand new stadiums, with Al-Bayt Stadium alone costing three billion euros.
In addition to the stadiums, the small emirate also built other huge projects by elevating their airport into a state-of-the-art centrepiece, and constructing hotels, sports facilities and entertainment areas for visitors.
STADIUM 974: 974 is the dial code number of Qatar, and one of its stadiums is also named after the number of recycled shipping containers that were used to build it. With a capacity of 40,000, the stadium will be dismantled after the World Cup and, it is said, Qatar will donate the stadium to a country in Africa, yet to be determined.
3.2 MILLION TICKETS: That’s the number of tickets available for the tournament, a third of which are allocated to sponsors and carriers. According to FIFA figures, ticket sales had reached 2.89 million tickets by 17 October. The countries that bought the largest number are, in decreasing order, Qatar, the US, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, France, Brazil, and Germany.
168 DAILY FLIGHTS: Despite building more hotels, the host country still suffers from a shortage of accommodation. Accordingly, it is reported that a total of 168 shuttle flights will transport fans from neighbouring countries on each day of the World Cup. They include 60 daily flights from Dubai, 48 from Muscat (Oman), 40 from Riyadh and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and 20 from Kuwait City. Meanwhile, Air France will temporarily resume flights from Paris to Doha for the first time in 27 years, operating three to six flights per week.
$9 BILLION PROFIT: According to Qatar22, estimates predict the nation will ultimately make a huge profit from hosting the World Cup, estimated to be watched by millions around the world, to the tune of $9 billion (8.7 billion euros). The figure is based on Qatar’s own assessment of the cost of staging the event, which is significantly lower than the 220 million euros put forward by Front Office Sport. According to organisers of the 2018 World Cup, the tournament injected 12.5 billion euros into the Russian economy between 2013 and 2018, the equivalent of one per cent of the country’s GDP.
MOST EXPENSIVE TEAMS: Ten teams have been named as the most expensive playing at the current FIFA World Cup. England tops the list as the most valuable team worth 1.4 billion euros, followed by Brazil with a market value of 1.09 billion euros. Portugal follows with a market value of 904 million euros, followed by France at 903 million euros. Spain comes next with 800 million euros, Germany 723.5 million euros, Argentina with 630.2 million euros, Belgium with a market value of 558.7 million euros, Holland 474.25 million euros, and Uruguay 401 million euros.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.