World Cup Prize Money: Then And Now

FIFA is a multi billion dollar organization.  They are the global governing body for the sport and they organize arguably the largest and most popular tournament in the world.  The FIFA World Cup is going into its 20th edition this summer in Brazil and it would be very difficult to argue that money hasn’t been the topic of discussion through much of the preparation and lead up to this tournament.

Regardless of whether the focus is on profit, expenditure, debt or appropriation, the amount of money that has grown to be involved in this tournament and FIFA as an organization over time has led many to question whether the beautiful game is being tarnished.

Between transparency issues and corruption allegations in FIFA itself, appropriation of funds away from infrastructure and into further stadium development in Brazil, and the actual vs perceived legacy of some of the World Cup projects, many question the motives and methods of Sepp Blatter and his colleagues.

The conclusion about the effect that money has had, is having and will have on the beautiful game is as complex and intimidating as Pirlo’s beard. Naturally, the numbers being thrown around in regards to the World Cup can sometimes cause a headache and really turn a few heads in more than one direction.  Ultimately, part of the goal here at Business of Soccer is to attempt to make sense of some of these numbers and in many cases look at them in ways they haven’t been looked at before.

With FIFA’s Executive Committee meeting coming to a close last week, announcements were made about a number of FIFA organized tournaments with prize money for the 2014 World Cup among them.  Specifically, the Executive Committee announced an increase in the contribution pool for World Cup participants.

What exactly the contribution pool completely consists of isn’t 100% clear.  However, the announcement made specific reference to certain data, specifically an increase the in incremental prize money for advancing in the World Cup.

Through public FIFA financial statements and data sheets, we gathered tournament prize money data from the previous three World Cups along with the aforementioned data on the upcoming tournament and decided to stand them up against each other. Here is the result:

World Cup Prize Money Disribution2002WC*2006WC**2010WC2012WCGroupstageRoundof 16QuartersFourthThirdRunnersUpWinner010203040Prize Money (US $ Milllions)

String 2002 WC* 2006 WC** 2010 WC 2012 WC
Group stage 2.9 4.79 8 8
Round of 16 3.93 6.78 9 9
Quarters 5.09 9.18 14 14
Fourth 7.67 17.16 18 20
Third 7.67 17.16 20 22
Runners Up 7.83 17.96 24 25
Winner 7.99 19.56 30 35

Not surprisingly, the total prize money distributed based on tournament performance has increased every time.  This makes sense as FIFA has made an effort after every tournament to highlight how much each World Cup has improved on the previous one, so naturally the prize money has increased alongside revenue, viewership and attendance.

One of the pieces of information mentioned in the contribution pool announcement seemed interesting though after looking at this information.  FIFA stated that the money going to participating teams had increased by 37%.  In fact it seems like every tournament FIFA has been saying the money they’re giving back is increasing by leaps and bounds and yet, looking at the prize money data, it was hard to see that kind of change.

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