Soccer - or football - is probably the most popular and prevalent sport in the world. Originating in Britain in the second half of the 19th century and spreading to continental Europe thereafter, football it is now played in all parts of world.
FIFA (World Cup)
The FIFA World Cup, which is held every four years in alternating countries, is amongst the most viewed sporting events on television. Approximately 3.2 billion people watched at least part of the 2010 World Cup coverage on TV. FIFA, which is the governing body of football and the World Cup organizer, generated more than 700 million U.S. dollars in revenue from broadcasting rights from the event in 2010. Almost half of that revenue was earned in Europe. According to Forbes FIFA generated around 1.7 billion U.S.dollars in revenue from television rights of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Soccer in Europe
Europe is the most important market in terms of overall revenue and level of competition at the highest professional level. The European soccer market’s total revenue is estimated to have been around 19.9 billion euros in the 2012/13 season.
The so-called “Big-Five” leagues, which include the highest professional leagues of England (Barclays Premier League), Germany (Bundesliga), Spain (Primera Division, Liga BBVA), Italy (Serie A) and France (Ligue 1) generate almost 50 percent of that revenue.
One important stream of revenue is sponsorship. The sale of league naming rights earned the English Premier League about 50 million euros for the 2012/13 season just to take one example. The value of kit sponsorships in the “Big-Five” leagues amounted to more than 500 million euros in the 2012/13 season.
Soccer in the United States
Compared to Europe soccer is not as popular and / or as profitable as in the United States. Around 12.6 million people participated in outdoor soccer in the U.S. in 2012. Wholesale sales of soccer equipment amounted to almost 370 million U.S. dollars in 2013. Major League Soccer (MLS) is not as popular as the other major team sports football, basketball, baseball and hockey. Only 5.58 million people are “very interested” in the MLS according to Scarborough Research.
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