DOHA, Qatar (AP) – FIFA raked in a record $7.5 billion in revenue over four years of commercial deals related to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Football Association said on Sunday.
The final three sponsors – two Americans and one from the Middle East – were announced hours before the opening game: YouTube, Visit Las Vegas and Fine Hygienic Holding, all in the third category of regional sponsors.
The latecomers to complete the list of World Cup sponsors helped boost FIFA’s four-year revenue to more than $1 billion ahead of the previous business cycle related to Russia 2018.
The figures were revealed on Sunday at a closed meeting of more than 200 FIFA member associations, whose cash grants from the Switzerland-based football association have soared since Gianni Infantino was elected in 2016.
The additional revenue was spurred by trade deals with state-backed companies in the gas-rich World Cup host country. Qatar Energy joined as a top-tier sponsor, and new third-tier sponsors include Qatari bank QNB and telecom company Ooredoo.
FIFA also added second-tier sponsorship deals this year from financial platform crypto.com and a blockchain provider, becoming its first new American sponsor in more than a decade.
Key broadcast deals for this year’s World Cup were signed during Sepp Blatter’s presidency in two tournament deals, including the tournaments in Russia and Qatar. These included deals with Fox in the US and Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, sealed in 2011.
FIFA’s reserves will grow to around $2.5 billion despite the COVID-19 pandemic. FIFA was willing to use this money to help members with uncertainty in 2020, when national team football and World Cup qualifiers were almost completely suspended.
Revenue is expected to reach $10 billion over the next four years thanks to a new financial strategy for women’s football and the expanded 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Separate sponsorship deals will be signed for women’s football for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The 2026 men’s tournament will have 48 teams instead of 32.
FIFA has an almost clean slate for the 2026 edition, with top sponsors Coca-Cola, Adidas and Wanda being the only deals currently being renewed.
FIFA pledged to give more money to member associations at its March meeting in Qatar, pledged that its Zurich base grant would increase by 33% from 2023 to 2027, to a total of $8 million.
On his election day in 2016, Infantino promised voters: “It’s your money, not FIFA’s money.”
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