FIFA Says South Africa World Cup Had Sales of $3.7 Billion

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa brought in $3.7 billion in sales, according to soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

The tournament, played in Africa for the first time since it was established in 1930, was won by Spain. The majority of the tournament’s income came from the sale of television rights, which generated $2.4 billion. Marketing and sponsorship sales brought in $1.1 billion, according to FIFA, which presented its annual accounts today.

The quadrennial event accounts for the majority of the group’s income. The governing body said it had revenue of $4.2 billion over the past four years and its reserves have reached $1.3 billion. FIFA President Sepp Blatter faced opposition when he lobbied for South Africa to host the event.

“I’m a happy president because if you come with such financial results at the end of a four-year period when people said you are going against the world,” Blatter told a press conference. South Africa hosted 62 World Cup matches, and 97 percent of tickets were sold, generating $300 million. Still, many matches were played in stadiums with empty seats.

“We were surprised about this too,” FIFA’s deputy General Secretary Markus Kattner said of the less than full stadiums. “We do not know exactly what the reasons for this are.”


FIFA has built its reserves since 2001 when it nearly went bankrupt following the collapse of a television partner. The reserve pool was $76 million in 2003 and probably won’t grow much higher in the next four years, Kattner said.

The pool is needed to protect FIFA from a financial shock like the cancellation of the World Cup, the world’s most-watched sport event, Kattner said. The event brought in 87 percent of its revenue.

While the World Cup generated record income, the organization also spent a record amount over the past four years. FIFA expended $3.7 billion, including $1.2 billion on arranging the World Cup in South Africa, where FIFA was forced to spend more than budgeted to ensure the country was ready for the June 30 kickoff. The rest was spent on developing the sport around the world.

Discretionary Spending

Kattner said the governing body spends the majority of its development money directly on specific projects, rather than distributing it to individual associations to spend at their discretion. Blatter, who is standing for re-election, earlier this year announced each of the 208 member associations, which are guaranteed $1 million over four years, would get an extra $300,000. He also announced an extra $250,000 payment last year as a “gift to our shareholders.”

Kattner said there wasn’t a problem with monitoring how the money is spent.

“Each association has to present to us a locally audited statement that we analyze every year,” he said. FIFA’s auditor KPMG LLP then carries out spot checks on 21 countries.

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