Qatar is seen struggling to cope with challenges and match expectations in the run up to FIFA World Cup 2022. Will the country manage to change the game on the FIFA field or will it be played instead?
July 8, 2012 1:19 by Priyanka Pradhan
Looks like a sticky situation for Qatar right now. As if its iffy stand on permitting alcohol for spectators in the stadiums was not enough, Qatar finds itself in a tough spot yet again, while dealing with the concern of scorching 50 degree Celsius heat during the summer months of the tournament.
The FIFA organizing committee is now asking Qatar to consider moving the games schedule to later at night, in order for athletes and spectators to escape the heat. While this move aims to provide a comfortable environment for people on location during the matches, it will dramatically affect LIVE telecast of the games in other countries and consequently shape media buying rates for advertisers across the world. The consequences of such a change in schedule will have ramifications on the entire business of the game, on a global scale.
As host country, Qatar also has to keep a sharp eye on revenues from the tournament. South Africa had ended up incurring losses while hosting the 2010 FIFA World cup, while FIFA itself raked in revenues to the tune of $1.06 billion from broadcast rights, marketing and advertising deals that year. The host country is entitled to revenue from ticket sales, which could amount to $1 billion, but that is small change in return for footing the bill for infrastructure improvements, security, transport networks and ofcourse, brand new stadiums.
FIFA, on the other hand, relies heavily on TV rights for LIVE telecast and advertisement or sponsorship deals. According to Sponsorship Intelligence, approximately 715.1 million people, that is, one in ten people alive in 2010, watched the last showpiece final of FIFA 2010. The figure is 400 million for live viewers on an average, for the entire tournament across 214 countries. However, the host country is not entitled to any share of this money spinning pie.
Meanwhile, Qatar is facing more problems than that of climatic conditions and revenue sources. In the run up to the World cup in 2022, the spotlight is now shifting to Qatar’s treatment of migrant labor. The fact that there is no minimum wage in this Gulf Arab state and daily wage workers take home anything from US$6.75 to US$11 a day, is outraging human rights activists across the globe. FIFA has also pledged to address labor issues in Qatar over the next few months following threats to disrupt construction plans connected to the World Cup 2022 tournament.
Considering the challenges for Qatar in the run up to the 2022 world cup, it sure looks more like an obstacle race than smooth turf for the country. All eyes are on Qatar to see if it will be able to overcome these obstacles for a graceful kick off, or struggle to make the goal.
Photo from Arabianbusiness.com