by Mike Hopper
Having been involved in hosting many large events, this challenge is especially difficult – can hosting an event be financially viable for a city?
Many a rightsholder, such as FIFA, believe the additional room nights, food and beverage tabs and short-term employment opportunities they bring to a city is the payoff. They don’t necessarily view the city as part of the financial success of the event. Unfortunately, changing this perspective appears to be an enormous challenge.
Specifically, regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup discussion, the answer may need to come in terms of private dollars. Are there one or two companies that are headquartered in your city and might consider putting their dollars behind your hosting responsibility? Even this path may be a challenge, as you’ll need to sort through sponsor conflicts, local activation rights and ultimately, what can the company expect in return for their investment.
Perhaps, it might be worth weighing this equation like this – do the benefits of hosting a FIFA World Cup match overlap with other city expenditures? As an example, if the city will be receiving marketing assets as part of its hosting package, can other marketing initiatives of the city be scaled back in 2025 and 2026? In this scenario, your city will still promote itself as a tourist destination in 2026, but instead of buying your traditional billboards and digital advertising, you’ll be relying on the FIFA World Cup assets to deliver tourists. This path will also allow you to keep the FIFA World Cup Host Committee focused. If you predict the World Cup assets won’t deliver the same number of tourists in 2026, how will the Host Committee assist you in making up the difference?