FIFA reserves at USD4-bn after World Cup; Expect more in 2026
FIFA reserves at USD4-bn after World Cup; Expect more in 2026

GENEVA: Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) had reserves of nearly  USD 4 billion after a financially successful 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and booming hospitality and ticket sales at the 2026 tournament in North America are likely to add billions to the income of soccer's international governing body.

FIFA outlined exceptionally robust finances in its 2022 annual report late on February 14 which saw the annual bonus of President Gianni Infantino rise by 620,000 Swiss francs (USD 673,000). His pre-tax base salary and bonus package totalled 3.6 million Swiss francs (USD 3.9 million) plus more FIFA-paid expenses and benefits.

FIFA revealed record revenue of about USD 7.6 billion for the four-year commercial cycle until 2022, which is mostly generated by the men's World Cup, at the World Cup in November. FIFA reported that its reserves at year's conclusion totaled USD 3.97 billion, up from USD 1.6 billion through 2021. FIFA's financial condition is remarkably robust and sustainable with a significant cash base and enough reserves.

The expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, will primarily be played at NFL stadiums, contributing to the USD 11 billion in revenue that was conservatively predicted in December for the following four years.

FIFA expects to earn USD 3.1 billion in hospitality and ticket sales over the next four years by using the stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, and Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, among other NFL teams.
FIFA reported that it earned a total of USD 929 million in Qatar from ticket sales for the 64 games and a hospitality programme that was licenced to longtime World Cup partner MATCH in 2011 for a rights fee and profit share totaling USD 243 million.

According to FIFA's annual report, "Hospitality sales (will be) predominantly driven by the strategic model in operation, which has departed from the rights fee model, under which FIFA's hospitality services were outsourced. The hospitality program's operational expenditures are projected to be USD 638 million in 2026.

The tournament record attendance of approximately 3.6 million achieved at the United States-hosted 1994 edition, which featured 52 games in a 24-team format, is predicted to be substantially surpassed by the 2026 World Cup.
FIFA originally agreed to an 80-game calendar with 48 teams in North America in 2026, but Mr. Infantino stated in Qatar that the decision will be reevaluated. 104 games could be played in a format.

FIFA also anticipated significant growth in the sales of sponsorships and television rights through 2026.

FIFA predicted total broadcast revenue of USD 4.26 billion through 2026, up approximately USD 1 billion from the 2019–22 timeframe, citing "North American time zones enabling beneficial coverage around the an enlarged match schedule." The increased figure is equal to the Champions League of Europe's annual TV and sponsorship budget.

Although only a few deals, like those with Coca-Cola and Adidas, presently go beyond the Qatar tournament, marketing revenue is expected to increase from USD 1.8 billion to roughly USD 2.7 billion.

FIFA said that the Club World Cup, which is scheduled to return in 2025 with a 32-team competition, was not included in their projection of total revenue of USD 11 billion. That event was previously valued by Infantino at USD 3 billion for each occasion.
Through 2026, spending is expected to increase significantly. FIFA has conservatively budgeted for a profit of USD 100 million over a four-year period.
The estimated expenditures for FIFA's 2026 World Cup are USD 3.84 billion and USD 435 million, respectively, for the Women's World Cup, which begins in Australia and New Zealand in July.

The USD 896 million in prize money for the 48 teams and the payments to clubs for releasing their players for national team duty make up the cost of the 2026 men's competition. According to a daily rate per player calculation, clubs worldwide got a total of USD 209 million from the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA will also  distribute USD 2.25 billion in development money among its 211 member federations, each of which receives at least USD 2 million annually, as well as the six continental confederations and local soccer associations.
FIFA said it has "lived up to its duty as the principal source of information for football aficionados globally" by pledging to invest tens of millions on communications including websites and mobile apps. Football Development Fund with a total of USD 660 million is available to support the game "in all its forms and at all levels."

Over the next four years, it is anticipated that 367 million USD would be spent on employees for governance and administration. Some employees are expected to work in North America rather than Zurich, the home of FIFA, in departments like marketing and law.

With so much cash on hand, FIFA uses an online marketplace that matches investors with borrowers to provide short-term loans to Swiss government agencies. According to FIFA, those debts from external parties totaled USD 737 million as of December 31.

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