Hosting the FIFA World Cup: Economic boon or winner’s curse?

Brian Sturgess & Chris Brady

Published: December 2006

Countries often compete fiercely for the right to host the football FIFA World Cup finals, but apart from national prestige, are there any concrete economic benefits to be gained from hosting sporting events such as the Olympics or the World Cup? The evidence is mixed. Many estimates suggest that large gains in employment and a boost to economic growth result. Some economists conclude that the net economic impact arising from a boost to aggregate demand is often negligible or even negative. This paper surveys a range of studies assessing the macroeconomic impact of hosting the finals. The authors argue that it is inappropriate to rely on measures of the economic impact that are concerned only with the effect on macroeconomic variables to decide whether a bid should be made or not, since hosting events can have major effects on the structures of the football market and related industries.

Download Paper in PDF format