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FIFA on track despite pandemic

March 22, 2021

Covid-19 severely disrupted football at all levels in 2020, with the cancellation or postponement of leagues and FIFA’s football tournaments around the world. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the international match calendar and global economy, FIFA says that its revenue in 2020 exceeded its revised budget.

In addition, preparations for its flagship tournament, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, are proceeding as planned.

FIFA is on track to reach its projected total revenue of $6.4 billion for the 2019-2022 cycle. At the end of 2020, contracted revenue amounted to $5.1 billion, representing 80 per cent of the total budgeted revenue for the 2019-2022 cycle. Specifically, 92 per cent of the 2019-2022 budget for FIFA’s largest revenue source, the sale of TV broadcasting rights, had already been contracted by December 31st 2020, with several international regions having been completely sold.

The pandemic severely disrupted football around the world, with the postponement or cancellation of numerous international matches and the majority of FIFA’s tournaments in 2020. Nevertheless, 2020 revenue still totalled $67 million, being 7 per cent above the revised budgeted revenue.

Due to the lack of tournaments played in 2020, the sale of licensing rights amounting to $159 million produced the lion’s share of the revenue generated, and was a significant 24 per cent above budget. A key source of revenue in the licensing rights area was brand licensing for video games. In contrast to the many economic sectors that were drastically affected by Covid-19, the video game industry proved far more resilient to the pandemic. Besides the FIFA eClub World Cup, the FIFA eChallenger Series and the FIFA eNations StayAndPlay Friendlies, FIFA also successfully launched the FIFA eContinental Cup. In addition, 2020 saw the introduction of FIFAe, a new eSports tournament brand designed to create a substantial stage for players, clubs and nations.

The second largest source of revenue was the sale of marketing rights amounting to $74 million, 76 per cent of which came from FIFA Partners. Following on from Qatar Airways becoming an Official Partner and the Official Airline of FIFA in 2017, another Qatar-based company, GWC, was announced as the first Regional Supporter and Official Logistics Provider for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The decision to postpone or cancel FIFA competitions that were scheduled to be hosted in 2020 meant that revenue from television broadcasting rights remained low for the year, in line with the revised budget. As at the end of 2020, 92 per cent of the budget for these rights had been contracted for the 2019-2022 cycle, so FIFA is well on track to deliver its four-year revenue budget.

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