Qatar’s record-shattering $300B World Cup bet will deliver returns, despite missteps


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Samuel Wendel

Senior Market Research Analyst, Al-Monitor


Nov. 21, 2022

Bottom Line:

Perhaps never before has a World Cup created so much scrutiny, intrigue and opportunity for its host country and the biggest winner (or loser) likely won’t be on the pitch in 2022. Qatar, a tiny gas-rich country of 2.9 million — with Qatari nationals comprising only about 13% of that number — is an outlier in World Cup history, as most hosts have been large and powerful nations. The Gulf state is compensating with outsized ambitions: The first MENA country to host has poured as much as $300 billion into tournament preparations, making it the most expensive World Cup ever. Underpinning these efforts are Doha’s goals of amassing influence and diversifying its economy

However, hosting the tournament is an expensive gamble that could still misfire as controversy, economic turmoil and geopolitical tensions could undercut returns. But the World Cup has already provided significant global exposure and new infrastructure has transformed the country, so Qatar is positioned to capitalize, even if the ultimate World Cup return on investment still hangs in the balance.

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