The whole world seems to come to a grinding halt when the summer FIFA World Cup comes around. All attention turns to the country that has the privilege of hosting this prestigious tournament which occurs once every four years.
Hosting the World Cup is no small fete. Preparing to host millions of visitors from all over the world takes years of planning. There are stadia to be built too. It can be quite involving and expensive. However, various countries still continue to put in bids to host the event. One wonders what benefit these countries see in hosting such an expensive event.
Advantages of hosting the FIFA World Cup
There are many reasons why countries want to host the World Cup. Many of these are driven by the expected gains to the economy of the host nation.
1. Raising the country’s profile
Countries that are hoping to raise their international profile can do so by hosting a major event such as the World Cup. Countries such as South Africa and Brazil have seen an increase in recognition and tourism as a result of hosting the World Cup. South Africa was able to uplift its profile by showcasing the post-apartheid era. Brazil was able to show a resilient economy and a safe tourism haven despite the rumors of economic collapse and kidnapping cartels.
2. Overcoming gridlock
One of the most common claims by hosts of mega-events such as the World Cup is that the event will apply pressure on the nation’s political system to provide the necessary infrastructure to host the event. This claim is sensible in that many nations have had to provide facilities they would otherwise not have provided in order to meet the requirements for hosting the event.
Brazil’s government, for example, was pressured into investing in infrastructure and to pacify the favelas in order to host the World Cup. The government had a sense of urgency to do this in order to meet the deadlines set by the World Cup Committee. The result of the installation was constructive development that will hopefully last the people of Brazil for many years to come.
Hosting an event such as the World Cup could be the push that an ineffective political system needs.
3. Creation of jobs
Hosting a World Cup takes years of planning. There’s a lot of infrastructure required. Countries invest in construction and other preparations that result in the creation of job opportunities for citizens. The World Cup in Brazil for example generated 1 million jobs. According to the government, over 700,000 of these jobs would provide long-term employment. 50,000 jobs were generated in the tourism sector alone as a result of the World Cup in Brazil.
4. Improved facilities
There’s significant long-term benefit for the host country in terms of the investment in infrastructure and facilities. Aside from the improved or increased sporting venues, the country will also benefit from infrastructure such as improved transportation that may have been invested in for the sake of accommodating the visitors.
5. Increased income for the short term
The influx of visitors from all over the world will result in increased spending for the period of the World Cup. The host nation will see a surge in foreign media, athletes and visitors who will spend money within the country. This will result in a short-term injection of money into the economy. Although the increase in spending may be short-term, the income can be used for the long-term benefit of the country.
6. A rise in real estate prices
Land and real estate prices in the host nation often increase as a result of hosting the World Cup. This is often a direct result of the increased infrastructure and demand for land for construction in places where the World Cup will be hosted.
In some cases, communities have to be relocated to accommodate the construction of stadium and other infrastructure. Although this may cause a disruption to their lives, they are often relocated to areas that are much better than their previous locations. The move often results in better living standards for the locals.
7. The feel-good effects
Host countries also often benefit in ways that are intangible. One of these ways includes the feel-good effect. Countries can be proud to have hosted a World Cup. South Africa, for example, can be proud of the fact that it was the first nation in Africa to host the World Cup. Their reputation only gets better.
The event also brings with it a lot of enthusiasm and excitement amongst the citizens of the host nation. It is a great way to encourage a spirit of patriotism. People are proud of what their country is doing.
There are many economic benefits of hosting a World Cup, especially in the long term. It is no wonder many countries continue to bid for this privilege. We can also look forward to the next FIFA World Cup which is scheduled to be held in Qatar in 2022. Are you ready?