THE BLOG

The 2014 FIFA World Cup: Copa das Copas - A Success Story

14/07/2014 15:06 BST | Updated 13/09/2014 10:59 BST

Even before the final figures have been confirmed, it is already clear that the 2014 World Cup played in Brazil was a success. Not only in terms of the number of foreign tourists present, which was estimated at about 600,000, but because the Copa das Copas saw calm airports, efficient bus and metro services, security in and around the stadiums, good-humoured mingling of supporters, celebrations in bars and on the streets, a large number of goals and a show of solidarity and joyfulness on the pitch. There was also success on social networks, where 220 million people contributed to exchanges concerning football from 12th - 29th June.

Early data shows that between 1st and 20th June, 484,453 foreigners arrived at the country's airports, seaports and land borders. Statistically, this represents an increase of 121% in comparison with the first 20 days of May, when the number of foreigners entering the country began to increase in the build up to the football World Cup. This initial assessment represents an increase of 42% in comparison to the 30 days of June 2012. The arrival of these tourists also brought a greater influx of foreign currency. According to data from the Central Bank of Brazil, revenue from tourist spending in Brazil totaled $365 million on 18th June, with an estimated rise of 24% in comparison with June 2013.

Living up to its reputation as 'the country of football', Brazil is proud to have had the second highest average number of supporters in the history of any World Cup. At present, prior to the final four matches, in the 60 games played across 12 stadiums the total number of supporters had reached 3,165,627. The average was 52,760 fans per match, capped only by an average of 68,991 USA supporters per game in 1994. The Maracanã - home to traditional Brazilian clubs, received the greatest number of supporters, with 444,415 fans watching the six games played up until 6th July, and an average of 74,069 supporters per match. The Brasília National Stadium registered the second highest average number of supporters with 68,364 fans per game.

Some host cities have, of their own accord, already announced figures that confirm the success of the 2014 World Cup. According to the Ceará World Cup Advisory Board (Secretaria Especial da Copa do Ceará) at least R$700 million were spent in Fortaleza by the 350,000 tourists who visited the city over the six games played there. At the Arena Castelão stadium there was an average of 43,000 public supporters per match and in Porto Alegre, figures from the local government indicate the arrival of 160,000 foreign tourists over the five games played in the city. With the addition of Brazilian tourists, the impact on the economy of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul is estimated at R$1 billion. In Recife - one of the main tourist destinations in the North-East which also played host to five matches, the local government put the number of Brazilian and foreign visitors to the city at 400,000.

The number of photos sent by fans during matches shows the extent to which the Brazilian World Cup was a real celebration for supporters of both the home team and of other teams. In the second round of the tournament, an average of 8,000 photos per minute were sent at the time of the most intense data traffic; between the beginning of the games and half time. This figure is even higher than the average of 6,000 photos per minute sent in the first round. Photos captured socializing between friends, supporters and people from all over the world, as well as the match and most importantly the shared experience of a great moment in footballing history. In the second round alone, 6.5 million photos were sent.

In the first World Cup to take place since social networks have become a part of everyday life for people in all corners of the world, exchanges on Facebook (including selfies) relating to the championship exceeded 1 billion. Tourism in the host cities was not restricted to fans who came to support their team, or just take part in the celebrations. In Bahia, German players visited beaches near to their hotel and also watched an indigenous dance performance. The English team took part in a capoeira circle in Rio de Janeiro and the Italians opened up their training sessions to children. Along with their families, players for the Netherlands were even able to relax in a Rio club.

With the participation of so many famous players, the World Cup was also one of the most popular subjects on Twitter. In the first round alone, there were more than 300 million tweets on the subject. The fact that all 32 of the participating teams and the majority of the players have official accounts on Twitter helped increase exposure to the Brazilian World Cup, which will benefit the tourism sector. The Copa das Copas also broke record TV viewing figures in various countries.

In Germany, their national team's match against the USA attracted the largest TV audience for two years (ZDF: 27.3 million). In the USA, where soccer is not even the most popular sport, the match against Portugal was the most watched football game in the history of U.S. television, with more viewers than any game of the NBA finals, or than the average of the 2013 baseball finals (ESP and UNIVISION: 24.7 million in total). In France, the game against Switzerland attracted the biggest TV audience since 2007 (TF1: 16.7 million) and in Holland the match against Chile drew 8.1 million viewers - the highest TV audience figures since the 2010 World Cup final.

Despite Brazil missing out on the title, the success of the competition has been sufficient for FIFA to consider bringing another World Cup to South America. For Brazilian tourism, the championship was an opportunity for thousands of foreign visitors to discover our country, to experience the diversity of our culture and gastronomy and to get to know our people, who rallied alongside the Brazilian team and others. Whilst some of the outcomes are easy to measure, like the R$500 million brought to micro and small businesses during the event, and the refurbishment that modernized our airports, there are others that are not so easily quantified, such as the training of thousands of workers.