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Excitement in the air as the 12 month countdown to FIFA World Cup 2022 begins

3 minute read | December 2021

With the FIFA World Cup 2022™ kicking off one year from now, Nielsen is sharing the results of its Nielsen Sports brand tracking study showing a high level of excitement globally in anticipation of the global event in Qatar. As a part of FIFA’s Research Programme, Nielsen surveyed respondents across 28 global markets, and 79% noted that they are “ excited” about the upcoming tournament. This scores higher than both Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics, ranking it first across all major sporting events.

The highest level of excitement is coming  from the South American (83%) and African (75%) markets. The level of excitement in host nation Qatar stands at 79%, which is one of the highest across multiple global sporting events monitored in the country. Similar levels of enthusiasm are being recorded across the UK. 

Since Nielsen started tracking the event, excitement in the UK has been at around 60% since mid last year. This bodes well for engaged audiences and ticket sales from the UK for the FIFA World Cup™.

“The FIFA World Cup™ historically has been the most anticipated sporting event globally, and the 2022 edition adds up to the thrill of the pinnacle of international football returning back to full stadiums, now in a unique destination. It will become an unrivalled space for brands to have access to an engaged audience.” said Spencer Nolan, Managing Director of Nielsen Sports UK and Middle East. 

Christian Schaub, Group Leader Market & Consumer Research at FIFA, added:  “As the host country is gearing up for the tournament, we see how anticipation is growing for the FIFA World Cup.”

FIFA World Cup Qatar™ 2022 branding elements have become more appealing, too. Since the launch of the Official Emblem in September 2019, the global level of appeal has grown from 37% in 2020 to 46% in 2021, with this figure set to grow as the tournament gets closer. The Official Emblem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ had 39% appeal at the same time before the event. “It is not only about Qatar’s hospitality and anticipation to welcome fans around the world, but it is also about the world welcoming Qatar as a host for the 2022 tournament,” said Schaub. “We see positive anticipation is growing globally, with 57% agreeing that the tournament will make a long-lasting positive impact on Qatar, and 59% agreeing that it will enhance Qatar’s reputation abroad. These scores are all significantly higher than the corresponding measures for Russia 2018 at the same point in time, and given the success of that competition, we are eager for Qatar to demonstrate its capabilities as a host globally next year.” 

Both global and host market ticket purchase intent are considerably higher than for Russia 2018, where 46% of the population suggested they would buy tickets, reaffirming the idea that next year’s event is going to be the best competition to date.

While the world still battles the COVID-19 pandemic, fans also indicated a need for improved hygiene facilities (76%), information on cleanliness and safety (73%) and availability of protective equipment (73%) in the host stadiums.

From a Nielsen survey in July, nearly half (49%) of UK residents said they would only consider attending live sporting events once they have been vaccinated. Age has little impact on this attitude, with the youngest cohort (11-24 year olds) reporting similarly high vaccine dependence (46%). 

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