KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: One of the enduring mysteries of FIFA’s 2018-2022 scandal is why the world federation even decided to run the bids for both World Cups simultaneously.
The decision threw the process wide open to the potential of vote-swapping as the bidding nations split between European pursuers of the 2018 finals and the Asian/American contenders for 2022.
In 2011, this writer sat down in New York with Chuck Blazer, who had been FIFA’s TV and marketing commission chairman, and asked that question of the man best placed to answer.
“It was a good idea at the time [in late 2007]. We were facing a variety of things – economic uncertainty and the further uncertainty of how successful we might be with the World Cup in South Africa.
“At the time it was a one-way road with regard to paying money out. We didn’t see any money coming back and we had no idea it would turn out to be as successful as it was.
“Given the concerns we had, being able to market two World Cups right away on the strength of where we were plus, frankly, our thoughts were probably that there would be two big markets.
“No-one considered then that Qatar would be a winner or even, for that matter, that they would be bidding.
“As time moved on it turned out that the dire economic need was no longer there. But we’ve been very pleased already with the initial revenue streams for 2018 and 2022. TV interest is higher than ever before.
“We’ll see higher revenues both from our sponsors as well as TV during that period so all the indications are good for a healthy growth in revenue which is, overall, better than expected.
“The results are not inconsistent from the marketing strategy point of view. The strategy was that, in selling two World Cups, we’d do better than selling two separately.”
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