The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930, taking place in Uruguay from 13 to 30 July, lasting 18 days. The tournament was played in 3 stadiums, the Estadio Centenario being the main one. The Estadio Centenario was built for the World Cup and has a capacity of 62,235. 13 teams participated playing a total of 18 matches. The host country won that tournament, beating Argentina 4-2.
Fast forward to today where in the FIFA World Cup 2018 is played in Russia. The tournament is scheduled to last 32 days, from the 14 June to 15 July. That’s 14 days longer than the first World Cup, mainly to facilitate the 32 teams participating who will play a total of 64 games. The 2018 World Cup will be hosted in 12 stadiums, with the renovated national stadium of Russia, the Luzhniki stadium being the main venue with a capacity of 81,000.
The 2018 World Cup is the 21st time the event is held, only skipping 1942 and 1946 for obvious reasons. In the 88 years, the tournament has been around a lot has changed, especially comparing 1930 to now. Average attendance was 24,139 people per game, and the whole tournament attracted 434,000 people. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil drew 53,592 people on average per game and had an estimated attendance of 3,429,873 over the course of the event. Consider that the 1930 World Cup was not televised (first World Cup that was broadcasted was in 1954) and that the 2014 World Cup reached 3.2 billion viewers. It boggles the mind how much of the world is tuned into football, and how much the World Cup is a marquee event for most.
Even the way we consume the World Cup has changed significantly. We are no longer restricted to watching the World Cup sitting in the front of the TV in our living room. We can stream games to our desktops, even at work if company policy allows it, and we can get it live on our mobile devices. And it’s not only via our usual broadcasters, but the likes of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Facebook all have also bought rights to sports games in the past, it could just be a matter of time that World Cup coverage will be part of that. On the topic of Facebook, social sharing is a big part of consuming sports these days. That free-kick goal by Ronaldo to complete his hattrick and level the game versus Spain will be watched and re-watched repeatedly (one YouTube video is closing in on 1 million views) and shared on Facebook. Twitter will be alight during most games, with running commentary and reactions from fans.
Commercially the World Cup has also changed. In 2014 FIFA expected to earn $2.6 billion from TV rights and a further $1.4 billion from sponsorships. Of the sponsorships funds, the majority was expected from 6 top tier sponsors. As the game of football is attracting more money each year, so does the World Cup. On a consumer level, there is also more excitement money wise. Betting on sports games is now easier than ever, with more exciting formats being used such as www.livesportsroulette.com.
The World Cup has come a long way and despite recent criticism of FIFA and potentially the damage Sepp Blatter has caused to its reputation and the selection of Russia as its host country, the tournament remains a crucial event for any football fanatic.