Our American exceptionalism has soccer fans convinced that FIFA is “outrageously stupid” for choosing Qatar over the U.S. for a 2022 World Cup host.How can they pass up America? We love soccer now!
But that’s exactly the point. FIFA is trying to grow the game in corners of the world unaffected by “the beautiful game.” That’s why its stated mission is: “Develop the game, throughout the world, build a better future.”
And don’t worry about economics, it will make money no matter what. Need proof? on to the bullet points:
- Between sponsorships, broadcasting rights, tickets, and merchandise, FIFA makes out like a bandit regardless of where the World Cup is held. Look no further than South Africa for proof, where FIFA earned $2.5 billion in profits from a deeply impoverished country. (Here are some recent FIFA financial reports).
- FIFA uses the World Cup as a means of building the popularity of soccer in places where it isn’t already popular. Why bring it to America or England when soccer is already monetized in those countries? They’ll make money off of us no matter what.
- Sure, Qatar has never qualified for the World Cup, but in 1989 when FIFA announced the tournament would come to the U.S., we hadn’t qualified in 39 years. We’ve been in every World Cup since and have even ranked as high as 8th. Now soccer is as popular as ever in the U.S. – ratings for the 2010 tournament were astronomical and only South Africans bought more tickets to the games than Americans.
- By bringing the game to Qatar — smack dab in the centre of the Middle East —FIFA hopes to captivate, and eventually monetise, a whole new region of the world.
- In 12 years, we’ll have long forgotten being angry at the selection. A generation of soccer heads that want to see the World Cup will flock to the Middle East, regardless of the heat, or any other problems pundits perpetuate.
- Folks at the IOC and in FIFA believe in the social and political merits of international sport. Right or wrong, FIFA believes by bringing “the beautiful game” to all corners of the world, and with it millions of fans from around the world, they can help liberalize Qatar, and the entire Middle East.
- Their stadiums, once they get built, will be way cooler than ours.
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