The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to be watched by 5 billion people around the world, far surpassing the record 3.5 billion who tuned in to the 2018 edition in Russia.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino publicized the anticipated number on Monday for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Fox purchased the English broadcasting rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournament for $400 million.
The estimate comes amid criticism over the country’s human rights abuses and treatment of migrant workers.
- Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said while the state is “not perfect,” it has pushed reforms and development. New rules in the country include a higher minimum wage and more protections for workers.
- Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and some soccer players are concerned about LGBT+ and women traveling to watch the tournament.
Tournament organizers have clarified that everyone is welcome to the country, but have also warned to avoid public displays of affection.
At A Crossbar
The event is set to be just as popular in person as it is on screens. As of April, ticket sales to the 2022 World Cup were on the best pace since 2014, but with the growing number comes growing concerns over accommodations.
Between January and March, FIFA sold more than 800,000 tickets, but Qatar’s Supreme Committee told the Associated Press that only about 90,000 rooms will be available to the public.