Doing soccer in Russia is expensive. With the 2018 World Cup less than a year away, it just got even more expensive. The costs for next year’s World Cup rose by $600 million more than previously planned, Russian authorities disclosed on Tuesday.
Now, $600 million may seem like a lot of money (it could buy Neymar, for instance), but in the grand scheme of this World Cup, it’s a drop in the bucket. With the added cost increase, the total costs have increased to $11.8 billion — yeah, billion with a ‘B.’
And while that may seem like a yacht-load of money, it’s probably a conservative estimate. Just take a look at Brazil’s costs for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil planned to spend around $1 billion to host the World Cup, but that number more than tripled to $3.5 billion for stadium construction and upgrades. However, the total cost of the World Cup skyrocketed to $15 billion. To make matters worse, FIFA, which made $2.6 billion in profit from the tournament, gave a mere $100 million back to Brazil.
So while Russia is looking at an estimated cost of around $12 billion, don’t be surprised when that number jumps significantly. Russia may have to increase expenditure to make sure stadium construction and upgrades finish on time after a few stadium fires, though they don’t seem to be as far behind as Brazil was at this stage.
Russia has gotten a little creative with its upgrades. The Ekaterinburg Arena didn’t have enough room for the mandated 35,000 seats until Russian ingenuity decided to build seats outside the stadium.
The Ekaterinburg Arena is beginning to look #WorldCup
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 27, 2017
Well played, but I don’t envy whoever has to sit on the edge of those scaffolding-propped seats.
The first phase of ticket sales for the World Cup has already passed by but there will be more. And unfortunately, in case you’ve been living under a Per Mertesacker-sized rock the last few weeks, the United States will not be attending.