Qatar 2022: 5 Matches With Latin American Teams Report Highest Fan Expenditure

Soccer fans attending the FIFA World Cup in Qatar have surpassed the expenditure shelled out at previous tournaments, such as Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018

Customers buy drinks at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.
December 13, 2022 | 12:20 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — Soccer fans enjoying the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup have already surpassed the in-venue expenditure recorded at Brazil 2014 by 192%, and are now on track to surpass spending at Russia 2018, with 89% of the total, and that is only from the tournament’s group stage.

A preliminary report by Visa Inc. (V), FIFA’s official payment partner for the event, states that the five matches with the highest in-stadium spending involved a Latin American team, with Mexican fans playing a major role.

Although the figures have not been consolidated, VISA’s official communication indicates that at the time of the information cut-off, with two weeks left for the World Cup in Qatar, “consumer spending has already exceeded the total spending of previous tournaments (...). More than 90% of purchases in Doha have been with digital payments and 88% were contactless payments”.

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These are the five matches that have recorded the highest expenditure by fans to the group stage of Qatar 2022:

“The highest volume of payment transactions at the stadium was during the Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico match on November 30, followed by the Argentina vs. Mexico match on November 26. Mexican cardholders spent almost four times more than Argentine cardholders (29% and 8%, respectively),” said the financial institution.

However, as of the cut-off date, the match with the highest average transaction amount was USA vs. Iran, on November 29, with an average of $29 per fan, distributed across $14 in beverage and food purchases, and $89 on merchandise purchases.

The figure is high, even though prior to the start of the tournament the sale of beer inside the World Cup stadiums was banned.

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“For Qatar 2022, VISA has enabled more payment terminals in official stadiums, and we are testing some innovative new ways to pay across Qatar, so that the time-to-pay is streamlined and fans can enjoy and stay focused on the game,” said Saeeda Jaffar, senior vice president and general manager of the Gulf Cooperation Council for VISA.

Visa pointed out that 70% of consumer spending in value at official World Cup venues was made with internationally issued cards, with the United States leading the way (18%), followed by Mexico (9%) and Saudi Arabia (8%).

A sign saying only Visa cards accepted at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.dfd

Expenditure by stadium

During the group stage (November 20 to December 2), the average transaction amount inside the stadiums for all group stage matches was $23 per fan, with the merchandise, food and beverages, and FIFA tickets categories being the most prominent, with the following share:

Al Janoub Stadium had the highest number of contactless payments (91%), and the match with the highest number of contactless payments was Poland vs. Saudi Arabia (96%).

“Lusail Stadium led in the total number of payment transactions during the group stage, with 22% of the volume of payments made with cards issued in Qatar, against 78% for transactions made with cards issued in other countries,” it added.

In addition, Stadium 974 saw the highest average transaction volume of $25 per fan, with an average of $15 per fan for drinks and food, and $80 for merchandise purchases, on average.

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FIFA has stated on different occasions that it expects its revenues for the four-year cycle culminating with the World Cup to exceed the $5.4 billion it earned in Russia in 2018.

For their part, Qatari organizers have said they expect the event to provide a $17 billion boost to the local economy.