FIFA's profits soar into the blue and the Rainbow Nation is in the pink: Why the coldest World Cup could be the coolest
Just over a week after the big kick-off, FIFA and South Africa are basking in the glow of success – and vastly increased profits.
Though the World Cup’s first Vuvuzela-related injury has blighted one fan’s fun – Yvonne Meyer, 29, from Cape Town “ruptured her throat by blowing too hard” – the figures pouring forth from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke suggest Africa’s first effort is set to surpass any previous global sporting event.
Valcke, perhaps the smoothest of FIFA’s many executives in the build-up to an event some thought would collapse before June 11, reckons his organisation will enjoy an increase of 50 percent on profits from the record-breaking mark set by Germany 2006.
Nicolas Maingot, the money man for FIFA, is expecting a “provisional income” of around over £2bn (R24 billion) from ticket sales and broadcast rights. Though most of that will go to Sepp Blatter’s organisation, dire predictions that South Africa would be bankrupted appear to be unfounded.
According to Danny Jordaan, the heroic local committee chief who has fought long and hard for the locals, an unprecedented 456,000 foreign visitors arrived in South Africa between June 1 and June 13. He expects “a second wave” of tourists next week and further increases as the tournament hits the knock-out stages.
While the local South Africa FA will earn £20m (R1,5bn) to help local football, that is peanuts compared to national income from foreign visitors, estimated to spend a minimum £1,000 per person. Audit advisors Grant Thornton gave a “conservative estimate” of £10m (R120m) being pumped into the economy.
President Jacob Zuma, urging South Africans to support the tournament even if their beloved Bafana Bafana exit prematurely on Tuesday, said: “As a country and as a continent we have already won. The success of the World Cup is our success. Let us keep up the momentum and keep the vuvuzelas blowing.”
Though the aforementionedVuvuzela victim Ms Meyer has been advised not to eat or speak for two days, she is on the mend and managed to gasp: “I’ve been told it will heal by itself. I was starving by the time I could eat some soup and yoghurt.”
Vuvuzelas aside, this World Cup has seen 98 percent of tickets sold with a million spectators attending the first 20 games. Matches so far have attracted a global television audience of over 500million. Eleven of the matches baosted attendances of over 97 percent though some ticket holders failed to attend.
Ticket sales are expected to surpass Germany 2006 as the final group games approach. With France sending their top striker Nicolas Anelka home yesterday for calling coach Raymond Domenech “the son of a whore” according to L’Equipe (the Chelsea striker denies it and refused to apologise), opposition leader Helen Zille told the his country: “Now we need to focus on the 90 minutes against France in Bloemfontein. If you do that, and if the whole country is behind Bafana Bafana, we can do it. But whatever happens on Tuesday, we can be proud of the role the team has play in united our nation.”
The Rainbow Nation is already out of the red. A win against the 1998 World Cup winners might just send the whole country into the pink.