Qatar’s World Cup has made its fair share of headlines — and not always positive ones.
But as the tournament enters the quarterfinals, the 2022 edition is already showing a bright side: Fans are on pace to surpass spending totals from each of the last two tournaments.
Despite a ban on in-stadium alcoholic beverage sales — which surprised both fans and World Cup sponsor Budweiser two days before the first game — fans have already spent 89% of what they did in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, according to official payment provider Visa.
Fans have already passed the spending levels seen in Brazil in 2014 — and FIFA officials project the World Cup’s current four-year revenue cycle to surpass the $5.4 billion it made in Russia in 2018.
Less Than Expected
In what is simultaneously a disappointment and relief for the host country, the number of visitors to the tournament has been far lower than initially expected.
A report prepared by a government committee found that the country has welcomed 765,859 international visitors over the first two weeks, per Reuters.
- The country expected 1.2 million visitors over the month-long tournament.
- With eight games remaining, more than half the people who came for the World Cup have already left, and the country doesn’t expect a large influx of new arrivals.
- The report tabulated 1.3 million match-ticket holders and 3.1 million tickets sold.
With the World Cup centered in Doha, a city of roughly 2.4 million people, accommodations have been tight — fans have stayed in desert tents, shipping containers, cruise ships, and in neighboring countries such as the United Arab Emirates.