The commercial value of football in the Middle East region will grow by $14 billion by 2022 if Qatar is awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, a report said.
The value will increase by a further $10 billion by 2042, said the research carried out by Grant Thornton, a respected global advisory services firm.
The research, commissioned by Qatar 2022, confirms that football is the number one sport in the Middle East and that the region has massive untapped football development potential.
FIFA World Cup in Qatar will act as the catalyst to help drive the growth of football across the Middle East, it said.
Other key findings of the report include:
* Given the central location of Qatar, 82 per cent of the world’s time zones would receive Qatar 2022 games live in prime time, with a potential match day peak audience of 3.2 billion viewers; this has the potential to create an enhanced rights value for FIFA
* A FIFA World Cup in Qatar will help increase football match attendances across the region in 2022 by 13.4pc – an additional 4.2 million spectators (this excludes World Cup attendance)
. * Football pay TV broadcast rights in the region are expected to rise by 30pc to $550 million by 2022 if the FIFA World Cup is held in the Middle East
* Female football participation in the Middle East has grown from less than 0.2pc in 2000 to 3.3pc in 2006 (FIFA Big Count), still short of the 10pc level in mature football markets, indicating massive growth potential which the World Cup in the region could unlock
* Middle East’s proximity to European and Asian markets is likely to enhance the commercial value of hospitality rights compared to South Africa 2010
* Given Qatar’s proximity to India, a FIFA World Cup in Qatar would help drive interest in football across an Indian population of over 1.1 billion.
Hassan Al Thawadi, CEO of Qatar 2022 said: “Grant Thornton’s report helps to quantify the significant commercial and football development opportunities for FIFA and football if the Middle East has the historic opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. We can see many millions of new fans participating, watching and consuming football.
“We know the passion for football in the Middle East. The missing piece of the jigsaw is having the FIFA World Cup as the catalyst to unlock a whole new generation of fans and players. This report adds to our belief that a FIFA World Cup in the Middle East in 2022 would not only make history but also open up a significant and exciting new football frontier for FIFA and its partners.”
Grant Salter, Director from Grant Thornton said: “The passion for football in the
Middle East and the enthusiastic support for Qatar’s Bid to host the FIFA World Cup in the region for the first time is evident wherever one travels in the Middle East. We are excited to be part of a process of what we hope will be part of football and Middle East history.”