FIFA set to net $1bn through World Cup expansion

More teams = more cash in 2026

Ireland, italy, euro 2016

image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

FIFA is expecting to gain $1bn (€940m) in extra revenues as it expands the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2016.

Leaked internal documents seen by The Financial Times project that at current rates TV rights for the supersized tournament will be worth nearly $500m more as international football's showcase grows. The rest of the extra money will come through ticket sales and commercial deals.

The football body said that it, "took into account such factors as sporting balance, competition quality, impact on football development, infrastructure, projections on financial position and the consequences for event delivery," when deciding to change the format.

Brazil's 2014 World Cup brought in income of $4.8bn for FIFA - while its expenses amounted to $2.2bn - meaning that the tournament returned a $2.6bn profit.

In that case, the TV rights were worth  $2.4bn, $1.6bn was gained through sponsorship deals, and FIFA made $527m through ticket sales.

FIFA's main expense was pay-outs to participating teams and regional confederations - these cost $476m.

It spent $370m on TV production, paid $453m to the local organising committee, and put $100m in to a 'legacy fund.'

It is estimated that staging the tournament cost Brazil more than $14bn.

Playing politics?

The European Club Association - which represents elite clubs playing on the continent - expressed its disappointment at the move and said that the nature of the revamp is "regrettable."

"The European Club Association reiterates that it is in principle not in favour of an expanded World Cup," a statement read.

"We fail to see the merits to changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives... We understand that this decision has been taken based on political reasons rather than sporting ones and under considerable political pressure, something ECA believes is regrettable," it continued.

The host country for the 2026 event is set to be named in May 2020.

 

Additional reporting Cian Roche