Graphic of World Cup Logo and the Earth

From loss of productivity in Australia to imported turf, the international sporting event that comes around every four years has direct and indirect economic consequences worldwide.

Corruption and bribery scandals also show that FIFA officials may have manipulated where the money went and how it was spent to benefit certain companies in specific countries.

  • Most of the grass for the 12 World Cup stadiums comes from a secret farm in the Netherlands. A changing economy in the 1970s forced that farm to abandon cows and pigs for grass.
  • The official “Teamgeist” (Team Spirit) football is outsourced by German firm Adidas to Japanese polymer specialist Molten, which has a joint venture with a Thai firm to make the ball. The Thai women who make these thermal-bonded balls earn US$130 a month, also the retail price for one of the balls.
  • In Australia, the loss of productivity from watching a match that starts at 2:00 in the morning and recovering afterward was estimated at US$187 million.
  • The collective value of the Brazilian national team is about US$530 million with such popular players as Ronaldhino, has-been Ronaldo, up-and-coming Kaka, Adriano and Robinho. Ronaldhino, who plays for Barcelona, is one of 5,000 highly paid Brazilians who play for foreign teams.
  • A similar exodus of expensive players is painful to Africa. A Nigerian columnist documents how Europe hates to release African players during the Cup.
  • If Spain wins the cup, each player will receive US$718,000 in bonuses. If they lose in the final, they still get US$360,000. The Iran Football Association will give each player US$63,000 and a Peugeot 206 if they win. Prince Sultan Fahad bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia will give the players a little stipend land or new homes.
  • The Panini Group, an Italian collectibles giant and the victim of multiple takeovers, is printing 75 million collectible football stickers a day to meet consumer demands worldwide.
  • South African-based Gold Fields Ltd., was told to cut back its mining operations in Ghana to conserve enough electricity for Ghanaians to watch the football match without blackouts.
  • In Bangladesh, where the opposition laid siege to the electoral commission’s office, the parliament is considering shorter sessions to allow enough time for lawmakers to watch the matches.
  • The World Cup has forced the nascent mobile TV technology out of the labs and into the real world. Expect to watch the 2008 Olympics on your mobile phones.
  • The official World Cup Web site had 1.2 billion page views in the first week and 226 million page views on June 12 alone. That’s a lot of exposure and cash for California-based Yahoo!
  • Trading volume in the Mexican market was way down this morning, as the country faced Portugal and lost. Mexico is not alone. Brazilian markets close early for games. Latin American trade overall has slowed.
  • FIFA and its president are mired in bribery and corruption scandals that span decades. This year, hard-to-get tickets were rerouted to FIFA VP Jack Warner, who sold them through his family-owned Simpaul Travel Agency in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Above all, the World Cup can have adverse health effects as seen in this Thai construction worker who died of a heart attack during the Sweden-England match.