Bloomberg Línea — Qatar has a smaller population than the city of Buenos Aires, but it is preparing to host the most important soccer tournament in the world. According to the organizers, the country expects the arrival of more than 1.2 million visitors during the World Cup, which will be held between November and December, and will host at least seven Latin American nations’ teams, and which are still disputing their ticket to the tournament.
There are four places up for grabs and a playoff for the CONMEBOL teams, which groups together South American countries, and three places and a playoff from CONCACAF, which comprises Central American, and Caribbean nations, and North America.
As the end of the qualifying rounds draws near, the outlook is beginning to become clearer as to which teams will be battling for the World Cup, and many fans have already begun to do the math to attend the event. According to FIFA, among the countries from which the most tickets were ordered during the first round of sales are Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.
Ticket purchase requests can be submitted until February 8, and if orders exceed supply, tickets will be selected at random and, after that, on a first-come, first-served basis, according to FIFA.
Along with the price of tickets (for three first-round matches) and accommodation, those wishing to travel should note that, unlike in some previous tournaments, the venues of the matches are located very close to each other. None of the matches will be played more than 50 kilometers from Qatar’s capital Doha.
In total, there are eight stadiums, one of which was renovated and the remaining seven are new builds, after a $10 billion investment. All will have cooling technology, with average temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius at that time of year, thankfully cooler than the 42-degrees average in the summer.
Bloomberg Línea calculated how much it would cost to attend the World Cup traveling from Latin America’s main countries, and how many minimum wages would be required to fund the trip. We used the Kayak platform was used to search for airline tickets, and Airbnb for accommodation options, since at the time the search was carried out practically all hotels were booked up on platforms such as Booking.
The organizers have talked about the possibility of tourists staying on two MSC Cruises cruise ships, with a total of 3,898 cabins. Considering that cruise fares depend on the length and characteristics of each voyage, there are no parameters to estimate the possible cost of a cabin during the World Cup. There are also plans for camps in the desert, but details have yet to be revealed. Such accommodation measures are not extreme if one takes into account that the nation is preparing to receive visitor numbers equalling almost half of the country’s population.
The searches for this exercise were conducted in U.S. dollars and the final tally was translated into the local currency of each country, according to the exchange rate on January 31. Air travel departed from the capital of each of the countries for a trip between November 18 and December 3, taking into account that the first phase of the World Cup will run from November 21 to December 2. In all cases, it will be necessary to make at least one stopover, and the best option offered by the platform was chosen.
The tickets for the matches are Category 2: behind the goals in most cases, outside the preferential areas of the stadium and the places for people with disabilities and Qatari residents.
Venezuela was excluded from the exercise due to the depreciation of the currency.
Lionel Messi’s national team has already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar, with 32 points in the qualifiers. According to Transfermarkt, the team coached by Lionel Scaloni has a market value of more than $700 million. To travel to the tournament, an Argentine will need almost $9,000, taking into account the blue dollar exchange rate.
The Brazilian national team was the first in South America to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with the team not losing a single game in the qualifiers, chalking up 36 points in the 14 games played. As usual, Brazil is one of the favorites to win the cup.
In seventh position, and after a mediocre qualifying campaign, the odds are against Chile qualifying for Qatar 2022. However, it is one of the countries that needs the least number of minimum wages to afford a trip to the World Cup, within the parameters used. Chileans would need 16.4 minimum wages to travel to Doha and enjoy the tournament live.
The Colombian national team has just participated in two consecutive World Cups, after the successful era of Argentine coach José Néstor Pékerman. However, their third consecutive participation remains in doubt and the team are dreaming of a fifth-place finish, which would allow them to compete in a playoff for a place in Qatar 2022. In addition to their less than stellar performance, the depreciation of the Colombian peso, which lost 15.94% against the dollar in 2021, is also playing against them.
Ecuador’s dollarized economy makes it easier to do the math. Ecuador are currently the third best team after Brazil and Argentina. With seven matches won, the team is assured a place in Qatar 2022.
The Mexican national team, with a market value of $201 million, is in third place in the CONCACAF final round, which qualifies three teams directly and one more that will face a playoff. Mexico plays Panama on Wednesday, February 2, and a win for the former would seal the team’s ticket to Qatar.
Mexico’s minimum wage increased from 141.7 to 172.87 pesos ($8.40) per day this year. For the calculations, the general minimum income was taken into account, which this year will be 5,258.12 pesos ($255.50) per month.
Panama is in fourth place in CONCACAF, so it would have to play in a playoff match against an Oceania country. The format will be a single match on a neutral pitch, and the match will be played on either June 13 or 14, although the date and time have not yet been set. However, when it comes to doing the math, Panamanians would be among the Latin American fans who would need the fewest minimum wages to attend the World Cup.
The country’s minimum wage is divided into various sectors, however, from $326.56 for employees of small companies to $403 for those of large companies. The latter was used for this exercise.
The Peruvian national team has been one of the surprises of these qualifiers, under the guidance of Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca. After beating Colombia in Barranquilla, the team with a market value of $72 million moved toward the top of the table. If it qualifies, Peruvian fans will need $7,220 to go and cheer their team on.
The Uruguayan national team is fighting to qualify for Qatar 2022, after the end of the cycle of Óscar Washington Tabárez, the coach who has nurtured the national team the longest. Uruguay is in the playoff zone and will have to compete for a place against an Asian team. If they do qualify, Uruguayans wanting to go and cheer on their team would have to spend at least 14.97 minimum wages.
Prices and rates were researched by the Bloomberg Línea editorial team on January 31, 2022. Costs may vary depending on availability, the time and day of searches, as well as the exchange rate in each country.