South Africa spent $3 billion on 2010 World Cup

South Africa spent more than $3 billion on the 2010 World Cup,
and in return gained an ”intangible legacy” from the first world
soccer showpiece in Africa, the country’s government said Friday in
its final report on the tournament.

In the ”2010 FIFA World Cup Country Report,” released nearly 2
1/2 years after the event, South Africa’s government said it spent
$1.1 billion on building and upgrading stadiums alone.

Transport was the biggest cost, with $1.3 billion dedicated to
improving road, rail and air links and a further $392 million on
the country’s main ports of entry.

In the absence of any final definitive figures on how much South
Africa earned in total from being the host, the report said the
World Cup had left an intangible legacy of pride and unity among
South Africans and had changed the country’s image as undeveloped,
crime-ridden and dangerous in the eyes of the rest of the
world.

”To top it all, we didn’t have lions roaming the streets and we
did have ATMs,” the report, published by the ministry of sport,
added light-heartedly.

It did predict a $6 billion boost to South Africa’s economy as a
result of the monthlong World Cup, according to a study by risk
analysis and finance company Grant Thornton, but that was a mid to
long-term projection.

FIFA reported it made a $631 million profit from the 2007-10
World Cup cycle and earned income of $3.65 billion from 2010 World
Cup contracts. FIFA said it spent $1.298 billion on the World Cup
in South Africa and also gave $100 million to the World Cup Legacy
Trust, a fund that supports grassroots soccer projects.

”The World Cup in South Africa was a huge, huge financial
success for Africa, for South Africa and for FIFA,” FIFA president
Sepp Blatter said in 2011 as the world body published its own
financial report.

While critics have said that such a huge outlay on a 30-day
sports event was impractical for South Africa – and the final word
on whether it was an economic success was still pending – the
government could argue that it had already earned over $400 million
from the more than 300,000 tourists that visited for the World
Cup.

The upgrade to much of South Africa’s transport infrastructure
was a long-term investment, the government said.

The expensive World Cup stadiums are still underused, however,
and some are losing money. The Cape Town Stadium – reportedly the
most expensive of the seven new venues at $600 million – is in the
most trouble.

”This report will also serve as a reference guide and benchmark
for planning other major sporting events,” South Africa’s
government said in a statement to introduce the publication, which
featured the 2010 World Cup logo and was embossed with shiny gold
letters.

South Africa has said it is considering a bid to host the 2024
Summer Olympics.