The FIFA World Cup is a highly profitable global sporting event, and Brazil 2014 was particularly attractive for Colombia in terms of private investment. The Colombian national team reached the quarterfinals and climbed to the fourth spot in the FIFA ranking after 16 years without participating in a World Cup. This momentum has paid off and the team received the highest income from sponsorships in its history.
The national team went from having only one sponsor in 1987 to 11 national firms paying a total of around COP45bn ($22.5m), according to the Colombian Soccer Federation. Bavaria, the country’s largest brewery, has sponsored the team since 1990, with its most renowned beer Águila contributing COP15bn ($7.5m) in 2014. The company’s investment is paying off. Around 7m cans of Águila are sold at any Colombia match, as reported by local press. Other sponsors include Pacific Rubiales, the second largest oil company in the country; telecommunications giant Movistar; Procter & Gamble; and Homecenter, each of whom contribute COP6.7bn ($3.35m) to the team. Colombia’s national carrier Avianca also recently joined the list of sponsors.
Following The Team
Apart from the sponsors, other businesses benefitted from significant opportunities in the World Cup. Travel agencies, hotels, airlines and ticket sellers saw a sizeable uptick in business. The Colombian case is again particularly attractive given the momentum of the national team and the proximity to the host country. "Colombia was third at bringing fans to Brazil, after Argentina and Chile, exceeding 20,000 attendees per game," Jaime Navarro, Latin America regional manager of Ticketbis, an online marketplace for tickets, told OBG. “Although the official ticketing is reserved exclusively for FIFA, the secondary ticket market has moved more than $200m at the event," Navarro added.
According to official figures from FIFA, 51,086 Colombians bought tickets through official channels. In addition to individuals who attended the World Cup on their own – having bought tickets on the official FIFA platform – the tournament was an opportunity for travel agents to sell corporate packages for company executives. The packages include airline tickets, hotel stay and stadium tickets. "The most affordable corporate package sold in Colombia cost more than $15,000 per person," Navarro told OBG. The price of packages reached as high as $100,000 per person. Those packages, which sold out in all tournament games, allowed clients to watch the matches from a suite located in the best area of the stadium, as well as gourmet meals and parking access.
According to the National Tourism Association, travel agencies increased their sales to Brazil by 30% during the games. Meanwhile, Colombian companies landed business opportunities in Brazil. For example, Proquinal, a Colombian manufacturing firm, sold fabrics that were used to upholster more than 15,000 chairs in the newly-built football stadiums.
The domestic market also experienced a significant boom during the World Cup. Those who did not travel to Brazil filled bars, restaurants, and even cinemas in major cities to watch the games. The National Retail Federation estimated that the sale of TVs during the month before the tournament increased by 50% (compared to a 38% increase at the South African World Cup in 2010). CineColombia, the largest manager of movie theatres in the country, offered the matches in 60 cinemas, with the company selling more than 400,000 tickets.
Ironically, bars and restaurants were the biggest losers from the event. Celebrations following Colombia’s first win over Greece resulted in a number of violent conflicts in Bogotá, prompting authorities to issue an alcohol ban on days when the national team played. As a result, it is estimated that bars in Bogotá alone lost around COP70bn ($35m). While restaurants, taxis, supermarkets and liquor importers all expected sales increases of around 30% during the World Cup, they instead suffered losses.
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