Although this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia will add $2.4 billion to the global advertising market, according to new research by Zenith, the American team’s failure to qualify for the Cup for the first time in more than three decades will boost the U.S. market by just 0.2% of total annual expenditure this year.
Zenith estimates the U.S. will receive only a $400 million boost to its total ad spend this year.
The biggest increase in dollar terms will be in China, where Zenith expects the World Cup to generate $835 million in extra ad spend, or 1.0% of the entire ad market.
"There are few established brand relationships with the Word Cup in China, and this year, advertisers have been aggressively bidding to establish their association with football," states Zenith. "Some advertisers that had been planning to cut back their expenditure on television decided to increase it instead, specifically to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the World Cup."
Russia will benefit from a $64 million boost to ad spend, representing 2.1% of all Russian advertising expenditure in 2018, while the UK will add only $54 million (£40m) because broadcast matches will be split between ITV and the BBC. Not only will the BBC matches contain no advertising, but they will also take viewers from commercial channels, notes Zenith.
However, since internet advertising has a bigger share of the market in the UK than in any other country, except Sweden (at 60% this year), the report adds the UK will benefit from one of the biggest proportionate increases in World-Cup-related digital ad spend in the world.
Although the World Cup creates valuable opportunities for advertisers — TV coverage of its matches attracts huge audiences across the world, about 3.5 billion people viewing at home in more than 200 countries — the tournament's Russian locations presents some significant challenges.
About 40% of potential audiences will be asleep when the games are played.
Still, for brands, the World Cup offers a unique opportunity to reach these consumers at scale, during shared public occasions where they are emotionally involved. Plus, the contest disproportionately attracts people who are hard to reach on television: young, upmarket and mobile consumers who are more likely to spend their time outside the home and adopt the latest media technologies.