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Study: USA-hosted World Cup could net country $5 Billion

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It is many years down the road, but there is already talk of how the U.S. economy would be affected by hosting the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. A recent study conducted by the Economics practice at a leading sports consulting firm (AECOM) indicated that the United States would receive a potential boost of $5 billion if it were to host the World Cup.

Of course, another way to look at it is that the event is so far away that estimates like this one are simply a waste of money. So many things could happen in that time to offset any economic benefits suggested either nine or 14 years in advance. The biggest benefit a study like provides is encouraging investors to front money to help support a bid that would eventually turn a profit.

What do you think of the study? Is it a waste of time to suggest how much money would be made out of this? Think the United States win a bid for either year?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. England 2018, USA 2022, Australia 2026. Book it.

    FIFA isn’t stupid, they’re going to try to rotate us in every 20 to 30 years, because FIFA makes the most money by having it here, and it ain’t really even close either. We have enormous stadiums already built in large cities with lots of hotels already there. Our smallest stadium likely to be used (Soldier Field) would still have been one of the larger ones in Germany 2006. Our stadiums all have a ton of luxury box seating that they can sell at a massive premium or to corporate buyers (domestic or foreign). The World Cup attendance record from USA 1994 still stands despite it being a 24 team tournament. It’s a no-brainer to have it here again.

    As a Chicagoan I didn’t want the Olympics because of the costs, and we were on the hook for all cost overruns. The World Cup is easy – we barely have to do anything because we already have everything needed. Just let the tourists and their money roll on in to the city.

    I never buy the figures of these studies because they’re always commissioned by people with a vested interest, but there’s no doubt that a USA World Cup would bring in a ton of tourist money for a comparatively low cost on our end.

  2. Not sure what sort of fan would root for

    England to get it over your home country.

    Guaranteed #1 seed, plus home crowd for every match.

    Take your vacation another time and pull for the home team.

  3. I hope we get a world cup soon, but I hope more that England gets it. I have family over there and have never been. I foresee a month long vacation with the end of the Premier League, FA Cup final, maybe some Champions League games, AND World Cup games. Woo Wee.

  4. I went to 2 games at the Rose Bowl in 94 including our shock victory against Columbia. That game was the best sporting event I had ever seen live, and to be with 100,000 people chanting USA, USA, USA, USA was something I will never forget.

    A lot of people involved with US Soccer consider 1994 as the beginning. Another WC on home soil can’t hurt!

  5. Also The olympics are 14 days of hectic hell while the world cup is spread out over several weeks and there are only a max of two games a day.

  6. There isn’t the economic strain that the olympics have. We don’t have to build places of residence for teams. Don’t have to build new stadiums (Jerry Jones did that for us). We don’t need to build large buildings to store the many millions of dollars of equipment for broadcast. All we really need to pay for is stadium use and do all the coordinating for ticket sales, team hotels, team practice fields etc. It’s quite simple compared to the olympics.

  7. Man Before Soccer arrived in the US, I had never spent a dime on any sporting event. I just spent $4200 last year alone on soccer events/items, at least the things i remember.

    Season tickets 5×450=2,250

    WCQ tickets and airfare for 2=700 (not much traveling)

    Soccer jerseys/gear= 1,250 (

    no wonder I save less and less every year since 96, is anyone on the same boat????

  8. Difference between the WC and the Olympics is the required new infrastructure.

    1. You dont have to build new venues. No new kayak course, no velodrome, no carting in sand for beach volleyball. None of these projects that you essentially would have to demolish after two weeks. Citizens in Dallas, NYC, Philadelphia, Seattle, etc are already footing the bill for world-class facilities. (Ive heard this is actually a huge issue in South Africa. They are constructing 45K seat stadiums that wont have tenants after the Cup.)

    2. Way fewer athletes. With matches spread out over 8-12 cities, and only having to house 32 teams, athletes get put up in high-end hotels that are already there. No need for condemning vast tracks of land that then gets built into an Olympic Village, and then has to be converted at extra cost to something that may or may not be useful in the future.

    3. Fans are not centrally located. Again, with 8-12 distinct sites, fans are spread out across the country so you do not need to build new hotels that may or may not be profitable. Many hotels will choose to upgrade their facilites, but you do not need to vastly increase the number of beds in any one city.

    Sure, there are always the issues of double counting in determining how big the net benefit is going to be (any estimate is going to be biased based on who’s funding it. thats the nature of the business). However, unlike the Olympics, you wont hear about any bid in the US being contigent on bond referendums and cities guaranteeing to cover cost overruns.

    A WC in the US will make money. The question just becomes who gets to keep it. Does FIFA try to extract it in the bidding process, or can US Soccer hold onto some of it to pump back into youth programs, MLS, etc…

  9. Actually I think Australia and England would do very well hosting the World Cup. Those have been my odds on favorites to get the bids for quite some time.

    There would be some economic impact in the US but trying to access an exact number is always a guessing game. With travel restrictions the US places on international visitors there are probably a lot of foreign soccer fans that would prefer the World Cup was not held here.

  10. Actually the government would get more taxes if you spent the money at a hotel or renting a car. Tourist excise taxes apply to those purchases. Your lawnmower does not have a special excise tax. If you decided to buy $600 worth of cigarettes instead then the government would probably do pretty well with tax revenue.

  11. Keith, I was lucky enough to go to two World Cup matches in 2006 with my wife and two boys and it WAS amazing (and they weren’t even USA games). I’m feeling the same way you are about it, but I could be a grandpa by the time it happens.

  12. Yeah, Mark, sometimes it’s like listening to that guy on King of the Hill who talks like he’s got marbles in his mouth: have to work to understand him, but the effort’s usually worth it for entertainment value alone.

  13. “These dollars should not be counted as part of any economic benefit of hosting such an event because the government gets its taxes whether I spend it on the World Cup or on a new lawnmower and a few nights at the local bowling alley.”

    the economic factor is not with the taxes the gov’t gets, its the income the businesses get… the Airlines, the Restaurants, the hotels/motels/rent-a-rooms, the taxis, the convenience stores, etc… the businesses are the true economic factor here…

    yes the gov’t would get the money on taxes whether you spend it on WC accommodations or a new lawn mower, but its the businesses that will see the stimulant

  14. It doesn’t take the sharpest knife in the drawer to realize that America arguably has the best potential for a successful world cup. It was demonstrated in 1994. Maybe AECOM can do a study to tell us what the color the sky is.

  15. So we’re supposed to believe these overly-optimistic numbers from a study that surely was funded, at least in part, by the US World Cup Bid Committee itself?

    Up to 100,000 new jobs? Mostly part-time, month-long, minimum wage jobs, of course. How much benefit is that?

    For every dollar an American spends to attend a World Cup match that’s money that is not being spent elsewhere in the economy; if I am spending $100 for a world cup ticket, $300 on airfare, and $200 for hotel, that’s $600 that I could have spent buying something else in this country if the World Cup wasn’t here. These dollars should not be counted as part of any economic benefit of hosting such an event because the government gets its taxes whether I spend it on the World Cup or on a new lawnmower and a few nights at the local bowling alley.

    The real economic benefit is the spending by people traveling into the US for the torunament. So how many of those 325,000 visitor nights are from foreigners staying in US hotels and eating in US restaurants?

  16. I think economic impacts need to be considered when thinking about hosting a major sporting event like this. When Chicago tried and failed to get the Olympics many citizens were happy at the results because higher taxes and “wasting” money on sports were concerns for the citizens of Chicago. I for one believe that even with the economic strain that hosting such an event would cause the pros outweigh the cons. I am just hoping that someday I will be able to take my family and friends to a World Cup match and not have to worry about air travel or the security of such exotic locals such as Rio.

  17. I really dont care about the income of the World Cup, I just want to be able to go with my wife and kids. To be at a World Cup game has to be one of the greatest experiences ever. So lets get who’m ever we have to, to get the World Cup here as soon as possible. LETS GO USA!!


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