South African organizers made a slim profit of $366,000 from the African Cup of Nations in January and February, way behind the huge commercial success of the country's historic 2010 World Cup.
Delivering the final report and financial results for the African Cup, the local organizing committee said late Monday that it also had exceeded its own expectations on the three-week tournament by about $305,000 having initially expected to make just $60,000.
The report ''clearly depicts a positive financial position for the tournament,'' LOC chairman Mwelo Nonkonyana said.
More than anything, it underlined the massive gap between Africa's top tournament and the money-spinning World Cup, and showed how far the Cup of Nations lags behind in commercializing its product.
The African Cup was never expected to rival the success of the World Cup, but the large gap between the two was significant.
South African football was left with about $80 million from FIFA to develop its grassroots game following the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. That figure also did not include the money local organizers made off ticket sales. FIFA generated revenue of $3.655 billion from the 2010 World Cup and made a profit of nearly $2.5 billion, the world body said in its financial report for that year.
The Confederation of African Football hasn't made public its earnings from its biennial showpiece, but it projected in January revenue of just $10 million from the latest African Cup.
African football tournaments struggle with the continent's economic factors, where fans are generally poorer and with far less disposable income. Some of Africa's lesser-known teams also have little appeal for global audiences.
The LOC said the total attendance for the 32-game tournament was just over 750,000 with an average attendance of about 23,000 per game, less than half the average attendance of the World Cup. However, it was an improvement on the last African Cup.
South Africa also conceded that it had a very small budget to promote its African Cup.
''With AFCON (the African Cup of Nations) ... nobody knew what was happening until the last moment,'' South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula said.
Nigeria won the African Cup in South Africa for its third title, beating little-known Burkina Faso in the final at Johannesburg's Soccer City.
South Africa also will host the African Nations Championship, a tournament for Africa-based players, next year.