The 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Russia next week, will add $2.4 billion to this year’s global advertising revenues, according to Zenith.
“The World Cup provides a reliable boost to the global ad market every four years, and will be responsible for 10 percent of all the growth in ad dollars this year,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence. “This year’s tournament will showcase the brand-building powers of both traditional television and social media.”
Zenith’s research says that the net addition of $2.4 billion takes into account both additional spending by advertisers as well as any reductions from companies wishing to avoid this competitive period. The sporting event reaches about 3.5 billion viewers in 200-plus countries, Zenith says. “As well as producing large audiences—in some countries, the largest of the year—the World Cup 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. For brands, the World Cup offers a unique opportunity to reach these consumers at scale, during shared public occasions they are emotionally involved in.”
About 40 percent of viewers will be in markets where live watching may be problematic because of the time difference with Russia. “While for some this may simply mean watching matches broadcast on time delay, or viewing time-shifted live matches, young sports fans, in particular, have become used to viewing small nuggets of games on social media. Social media will play a greater role in viewing the World Cup than ever before, but in moments rather than full matches,” Zenith observes. “We expect heavy paid social activity around the matches as brands seek to join the conversation.”
Online advertising, in general, will benefit as the World Cup drives traffic at news and sports sites, as will newspapers and out-of-home campaigns.
The biggest boost will be seen in China, where World Cup advertising is expected to rake in $835 million, 1 percent of the overall market. The home market of Russia will see a $64 million adspend boost, 2.1 percent of all ad-ex this year. In the U.S., the World Cup is expected to generate $400 million in additional adspend. Zenith’s projection for the U.S. was tempered by the fact that the national team did not qualify for the tournament this year, which is likely to reduce audience figures.