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Soccer's Wide Reach

What are the economic and social dimensions of the world’s most popular sport?

June 11, 2010

What are the economic and social dimensions of the world's most popular sport?
1. South Africa’s 2010 staging of the World Cup will take place 20 years after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
2. More than 300,000 visitors are expected to be in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.
3. FIFA stands to generate income of $3.2-4 billion from the 2010 World Cup and is the major beneficiary. South Africa, on the other hand, carries a disproportionate share of the costs.
4. FIFA has 208 member countries, while the United Nations has 192.
5. Since the inception of the World Cup in 1930, only seven nations have claimed the title — Brazil, Italy, Germany, Uruguay, Argentina, England and France.
6. Since 1966, stock markets of the developed countries that have won the World Cup outperformed global indices that year by an average of 9%.
7. While teams from 32 nations will gather for the World Cup in South Africa, China will not be there. It is ranked 84th internationally, just ahead of Mozambique.
8. Over half of the non-Europeans of the 2010 World Cup play for European clubs. Of the 736 players in the 32 final squads, 545 are with European teams.
9. At the competitive level, soccer players run around ten kilometers per game.
10. Qatar is bidding to host the World Cup in 2022. Although temperatures would be above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) when the tournament is held, technology would allow air to be blown into the stadiums to reduce the heat to the mid-20s (75-80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Sources: 1. Bloomberg; 2. Wall Street Journal; 3. Citibank; 4. FIFA and the United Nations; 5. Washington Post; 6. Goldman Sachs; 7. Wall Street Journal; 8. The Economist; 9. ESPN; 10. The Economist