Soccer, football, the beautiful game -- whatever you call it, it's big business. With the UEFA European Football Championship starting tomorrow June 8th and being hosted in Poland and Ukraine, we thought we'd take this opportunity to discuss the economics behind the world's most popular sport.
In the United States & Canada soccer is not as popular as it is in other countries, as The Harris Poll discovered. Of their favourite professional sports to watch, soccer only came in with 4% of the vote. The only time when this number increases in the United States and Canada is when a large championship such as the World Cup or the Euro is played. For the 2010 World Cup in South Africa "112 million people, or 37% of the viewing public, watched part of the games." (Nielsen)
In comparison with other countries outside of North America, "Nielsen reported that within the 31 countries where it measures television viewing, more than half of all potential viewers, or about 500 million people, watched at least part of the games (2010 World Cup)."
Much of the hype revolving around these soccer tournaments -- the Euro and the World Cup -- is how often they occur. Similar to the Olympics these events only take place every four years and anticipation builds phenominally, as does national pride.
In comparison to the largest sport in the United States, football and its championship Super Bowl, soccer in the form of the Euro will rival if not surpass it. "With each match slot expected to draw an average television audience of 150 million fans worldwide, Euro 2012 will bring a near daily diet of ratings bigger than the Super Bowl." (Canada.com)
Many consider the UEFA European Football Championship -- the Euro for short -- to be the "best international soccer tournament on the planet. Smaller but better than the World Cup, with fewer minnow teams playing." (Globe & Mail) In terms of income generated by this tournament, the Euro is the 3rd largest sporting event after the Olympics and the World Cup, which is no small feat. "UEFA will earn commercial revenues of at least $1.6 billion for the 16-team tournament in Poland and Ukraine, rivalling FIFA's 32-nation World Cup for average match value." (Canada.com)
For revenues UEFA has made on past Euro Championships, please see the chart to the right from Statista.
"The sheer scale of the Euro is breathtaking... About 1.3 million soccer fans are expected to descend on the host countries... About one billion people are expected to watch at least part of it on TV around the world." (Globe & Mail)
For a ranking of teams by soccer's international governing body (FIFA), please see the chart below. (Statista)
We all have our favourites, but who do you think will take the trophy?
National soccer teams - FIFA world ranking 2012 | statistic Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/1439/world-ranking-of-national-soccer-teams/ (only available to Western University users)
UEFA euro total revenue 1996-2008 | statistic Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/221517/uefa-european-championship-revenues/ (only available to Western University users)
Doyle, J. (2012). All bets are off at euro 2012, where anything could happen Globeandmail - Soccer, Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/?cmpid=rss2
Euro 2012 has income, TV ratings to rival biggest events in world sports Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://www.canada.com/sports/Euro+2012+income+ratings+rival+biggest+events+world+sports/6738003/story.html
Harris interactive: Harris polls > while gap narrows, professional football retains lead over baseball as favorite sport Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/mid/1508/articleId/675/ctl/ReadCustom Default/Default.aspx
Increased viewership, online visits and ad engagement among world cup highlights | nielsen wire Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/increased-viewership-online-visits-and-ad-engagement-among-world-cup-highlights/
Marketing to sports enthusiasts - US - june 2011 - viewership Retrieved 6/7/2012, 2012, from http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen/display/no_redirect&id=582538&?select_section=582539 (only available to Western University users)