Qatar 2022: the craziest World Cup in history

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Greetings from Doha, where the smallest, most expensive and craziest World Cup ever begins. Qatar has been hit by unseasonably hot weather this week, with temperatures well above 30C during the day. Remember that Fifa originally voted to award the tournament to the Gulf state in the summer, when mercury would have climbed above 40C during the day and never dropped below 30C at night.

Despite the 12-year lead up to Sunday’s opening game, there is a last-minute scramble to complete hotels and temporary housing. And major World Cup sponsor Budweiser is already having a rough time – the tournament organizers order a last-minute about-face in alcohol policy and ban beer sales in stadiums. We’re sure to have an interesting few weeks ahead of us.

Today and throughout the tournament, we bring you more about the World Championship and a look back at the increasingly lucrative Formula 1 season.

Continue reading – Josh Noble, Sports Editor

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When it comes to money, Uefa – not Fifa – is still the undisputed world champion

The world(cup) is not enough © David Ramos/Getty Images

The World Cup is FIFA’s time to shine and unite the world with a shared passion for the beautiful game. It might even use the tournament to do so bring global peaceso its President Gianni Infantino.

But actually, the World Cup is all about one thing: making money. The tournament, held every four years, is Fifa’s major cash generator, with proceeds from the event being used to fund all other activities.

Broadcasters and sponsors are signing up knowing this is the most-watched sporting competition in the world – Fifa expects this year’s tournament to attract 5 billion viewers, up from 3.5 billion four years ago.

According to Fifa, the previous World Cup cycle from 2015 to 2018, which ended with the tournament in Russia, brought in $ 5.6 billion. That number is likely to rise this time, with forecasts landing somewhere north of $6 billion once Qatar is finalized.

While these numbers may seem high for an event that takes place every four years and lasts just four weeks, they highlight a major problem facing Fifa. There’s a pretty hard cap on his earnings.

Compare the figures with those of Uefa, the governing body of European football. In the four years from 2015-16 to 2018-19, Uefa recorded revenues of over $14 billion.

Thanks to the demand for rights to broadcast the Champions League, which has been running for months and takes place every year, Uefa generated revenues of 5.7 billion euros in the 2020/21 season alone. Excluding the World Cup, Fifa earned just $766 million last year.

Uefa’s earnings are set to rise again this year, and quite sharply, thanks to growing US interest in European football. From a financial point of view, Uefa is the powerhouse of international football – not Fifa. Although we should note that both lag behind the English Premier League, which is expected to earn more than $7 billion this season alone.

The income gap is why Fifa has been trying to rally support for new tournaments. The idea of ​​a biannual World Cup was floated (it quickly declined), while proposals for a club World Cup were also revived. But Uefa is in a strong position, with the majority of Europe’s top teams and the most lucrative broadcast deals allowing them to resist any Fifa plan they don’t like the look of.

Uefa’s cash cow is also the target of European Super League holdouts, who are urging the European Court of Justice to take action to crush what they see as a monopoly. The court will issue its first answer on December 15 – three days before the World Cup final.

For the time being, Uefa’s financial dominance is secured. It has a popular product that it can offer in bulk and still charge premium prices. Fifa can only look on with envy.

Formula 1: the never-ending urge to survive

Abu Dhabi: F1 growth story © Kamran Jebreili/AP

Greetings from Abu Dhabi where the formula 1 Season is coming to an end. I’m in the media center at Yas Marina Circuit overlooking several yachts. The splendor of this place is a reminder of the riches that have given golf a central role in the sport.

Expansion into areas such as the Middle East and the US is fueling a resurgence in owner-managed Formula 1 finances freedom media The financial benefits of the 2017 acquisition are finally beginning to be seen. Read the FT’s full special report on the sport here.

F1’s revenues – primarily from broadcasting, sponsorships and fees from race organizers – totaled $1.8 billion for the first nine months of 2022. That’s far more than the $1.5 billion achieved in 2019, the last full year before Covid disrupted the racing series.

Audiences have grown both on TV and at racetracks as the sport’s post-Netflix revival continues Drive to survive Documentary credited with gaining new fans.

At the same time, there are signs that the sport’s new spending limits — caps on how much money can be spent developing cars — are turning race teams from money pits into investable assets. Mercedes F1for example, declared dividends of $55m for fiscal 2021, a rare move for a sports team after annual operating profit soared from £17m to £72m.

Although F1 and the racing teams that make up the league are on the road to greater financial stability, there are potential bumps along the way.

In the US, Liberty Media must balance risk and reward as it assumes the role of promoting the sport’s return to Las Vegas next year after four decades. Under Bernie Eccleston, the sport’s former superstar, F1 handed over the burden of hosting races to outside promoters for a fee. Liberty Media’s willingness to break with the norm will be a critical test in Sin City.

Also next year, F1 will host four races in the Middle East – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. The region is vital for Formula 1 as a business networking platform, particularly given the demand for supercars, but allegations of sports washing persist. Another reminder of the geopolitical vulnerability came as F1 drivers considered not driving in Jeddah after a Houthi missile attack hit an Aramco distribution facility ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this year.

Despite the expanded calendar with 24 races planned for next year, F1 is trying to find the right mix of growth and sustainability. The series is heading towards a greener future, with a new engine and sustainable fuels in the works for 2026.

And at an event organized by the FT and Motorsport.com at the Abu Dhabi GP, Kate Beavana 20-year veteran of the sport and part of the More than equal Initiative to find the sport’s first female champion emphasized the need to empower girls and women, a rallying cry supported by Mohammed ben SulayemPresident of FIA governing body. Much depends on Formula 1’s response: a new academy to nurture young women and give them a platform to take them to the top of the sport.

Macroeconomic risks are also relevant for a sport that travels around the world. Analysts at rating agency Fitch also warn that inflation will drive up costs for staff, shipping and the Paddock Club hospitality business.

In other words, the stakes are high and Liberty Media’s work isn’t done yet.

Countdown to Qatar

Brooklyn’s Mbappé: The search is on © Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

  • France are the defending champions in Qatar, but since the cup was awarded in 2018, the French Football Federation has licensed a new youth academy in New York City – the latest in a crowded market for expensive football clubs targeting wealthy parents. For FT Magazine, Scoreboard’s Sara Germano asks if the next Mbappé will be from Brooklyn?

  • Meanwhile, FT’s Simon Kuper gives his pre-tournament take on the reigning winners, writing that “the French don’t go into the tournament with the confidence of world champions”. Can France shake the world champions’ complacency and curse?

  • The FT has additional national team previews from hosts Qatar, all-time favorites Brazil and of course England.

  • With the competition kicking off on Sunday, FT readers answered the question of whether or not to boycott this year’s World Cup. We have compiled a selection of the answers.

highlights

  • Several top athletes, including American football Tom Bradybasketball Stephen Curry and Shaquille O’Nealbaseball Shhei Ohtani and tennis icon Naomi Osaka belong to defendant in a class action lawsuit brought into a failed cryptocurrency exchange by investors FTXclaiming they encouraged participation in a “fraudulent scheme”.

  • Liberty Media, the owners of Formula 1, have announced the company’s intention spin off his other sports involvement – ​​baseball Atlanta Braves — into a separate publicly traded company, subject to approval by Major League Baseball.

Last buzzer

If you travel a lot for work, you understand the simple joy that comes from a consistently satisfying meal on the road. Many of us have our staple chains, and for Los Angeles Lakers Star (and podcast personality) Patrick Beverley, this chain is Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Unlike many of us, Pat Bev estimates He’s lost a quarter of a million dollars over the course of his US steakhouse career. The rundown of his appointment might leave you pining for the same – NBA salary not included, sadly.

Scoreboard was written by Josh Noble, Samuel Agini and Arash Massoudi in London, Sara Germano, James Fontanella-Khan and Anna Nicolaou in New York, with contributions from the team producing the Due Diligence Newsletter, the global network of correspondents and data FT visualization team

crypto finance — Scott Chipolina filters out the noise of the global cryptocurrency industry. Register here

Not protected — Robert Armstrong analyzes key market trends and how the brightest minds on Wall Street are reacting to them. Register here

https://www.ft.com/content/9d5d887a-9de6-405e-ba01-c3bcc1492c6f Qatar 2022: the craziest World Cup in history

Adam Bradshaw

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