Stocks to Watch Now that the 2022 World Cup is Over

For 12 years, FIFA’s decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup has been mired in scandals and it remains as controversial as it was in December 2010 – if not more. The first scandal, and possibly the biggest, was the fairness of FIFA’s decision to give Qatar the World Cup. As many suspected and as later proved by journalists and whistleblowers, Qatari officials bribed several FIFA board members to win their votes.

The country has also been under fire for its record on human rights, LGBTQ intolerance and its treatment of migrant workers. It was uncovered by The Guardian last year that approximately 6,500 migrant workers had died in construction projects related to the World Cup since 2010 as a result of inhumane working conditions. The last-minute decision to ban beer at matches has also left a less than inviting impression on football fans globally. 

Yet, Qatar has already spent an estimated $220 billion hosting the World Cup – making it the most expensive World Cup on record. Although Qatar is the fourth richest country in the world, spending this amount of money on a sports project is a huge expense. The impact of this project on Qatar’s economy is not yet known, but given the scandal surrounding this year’s World Cup many doubt that hosting the event has done Qatar any favors. 

So does this mean that Qatar’s big and expensive bet on hosting the World Cup has all been a waste? If we assume that the approximately $220 billion spent over the last ten years was meant to be recouped at this event, then yes. But in Qatar’s case this bet is about much more than just football. For this gulf country, hosting the World Cup could be an opportunity to prove itself as a modern country similar to the UAE.

The Next Dubai?

50 years ago, Qatar and the UAE were starting off from square one. But in a matter of years, the UAE had developed an education system up to Western standards, a health system, and its own infrastructure. While Abu Dhabi was largely dependent on its vast oil reserves to grow, Dubai had to think of other ways to develop since it was left with not much oil. This led Dubai to heavily invest in its infrastructure, ports and its World Trade Centre until it became a hub for tourism and business. The UAE accomplished this in part by establishing the Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB) in 2002. Tasked with marketing Dubai as a conventions and meetings destination the DCB participates in events to promote Dubai as a major business tourism hub. Tourism has also been easier for the UAE because of its accessibility via air transport. Its strategic location connecting the East and the West is one reason it was able to attract tourism and by 2020, the UAE had invested $270 billion into its airport infrastructure to establish itself as a destination at this intersection. 

Now the UAE’s population mirrors that of Qatar’s with 89% of its population holding citizenship in different countries. The difference with Qatar is that the UAE’s population is made up of a more skilled workforce which has allowed its economy to diversify and grow beyond fossil fuels, thanks to the infrastructure improvements which drew this workforce in. 

According to Qatar’s 2030 Vision plan, the country is hoping to catch up using its exhaustible supply of natural gas to “invest in world-class infrastructure; build efficient delivery mechanisms for public services; create a highly skilled and productive labour force; and support the development of entrepreneurship and innovation capabilities” with the goal of creating “a broader platform for the diversification of Qatar’s economy and its positioning as a regional hub for knowledge and for high value industrial and service activities”. Tourism also factors heavily into the country’s plans since it hopes to attract 6 million tourists in the year 2030 – a 981% increase from the 611,000 visitors it had in 2021. 

With these goals in mind, it should come as no surprise that the $220 billion spent on infrastructure projects for the World Cup are really part of the country’s larger plan to develop beyond fossil fuels. Qatar’s 2030 Vision also plans to improve the number and the skillfulness of the expats who work and live there. In short, once construction on all the buildings, hotels and offices is complete, the plan is to attract a more skilled labour workforce as the UAE did. 

Given the global economy’s gradual recovery post-Covid, some may doubt Qatar’s chances of achieving this. However the UAE faced a similar economic crisis halfway through its development in 2008, and look at it now. If Qatar is able to attract new talent thanks to these infrastructure projects it could become the new business and tourism hub of the region, or one of them at least.

Therefore the $205-213 billion seemingly spent on Qatar’s World Cup splurge, are rather an investment in the country’s future which is why many of these projects began long before Qatar’s bid for the tournament. For example Lusail City – a new city which is expected to house 200,000 people – began well before the World Cup but construction picked up again after Qatar was chosen to host the tournament. This project has cost $45 billion so far and is one example of how Qatar’s spending is more closely tied to its 2030 Vision than the World Cup. 

In the span of nine years, Qatar has also expanded its road networks by 264%, built an extra 178 bridges, and expanded its cycle paths by 9,586%. The infrastructure projects also include a $36 billion metro system that never existed before, a $15.5 billion renovated and expanded airport, and a $7.4 billion state-of-the-art shipping port. Clearly, Qatar had a lot of catching up to do as part of its 2030 Vision since the country had very little infrastructure prior to 2013.

If we assume that most of this spending was for the country’s long-term development, then what’s the point of Qatar hosting the World Cup in the first place? Well it’s probably not for the money. Revenue from the World Cup is estimated to be somewhere between $6.5 billion and $17 billion. The benefits associated with hosting mega sport events like the Olympics and the World Cup have also long been a topic of debate. While they may boost the host country’s GDP and cut unemployment in the short-term, what happens during and after the event paints a different picture. 

In fact, researchers have found that the number of tourists visiting the host country drops during these mega sport events and surprisingly the number of tourists coming for the sporting event does not even make up for the difference. While Qatar reported more than 1.4 million fans attended its world cup, it’s unlikely that the spectators who do come will visit anything other than the stadiums and restaurants. If Qatar’s goal is to become an embedded part of the tourism industry, then hosting the World Cup might do very little to help it achieve this.

But does hosting the World Cup hurt its chances of meeting these goals? 

While the bad PR leading up to the event could have done some damage, Qatar will likely see a drop in tourism following the World Cup for different reasons. For example, after the 2000 Olympic games, Australia’s number of tourists gradually dropped year-over-year from 2.7 million in 2000 down to 2.3 million by 2003. Of course, Australia’s experience is likely not predictive of Qatar’s fate, but research has shown that in many cases host countries take a hit in tourism following major sporting events. 

This could be bad news for Qatar which has been eyeing tourism as an opportunity to diversify its economy since many world leaders have discussed phasing out fossil fuels. This means that despite the long term gas contracts Qatar recently signed with Germany and China, the country will sooner or later have to look elsewhere for a source of income. Tourism offers an appealing long-term solution, and many gulf countries have been quick to capitalize on their current wealth by making inroads towards becoming tourist destinations. 

Even if tourism dips following the World Cup, it’s unlikely to last more than a few years at most. But this brings to light another question, if Qatar is not benefitting from additional tourism in the short-term, then what justifies this drain of the country’s resources?

Qatar has been pushing itself towards bigger and better things since the 90s which saw the discovery, production, and export of liquid natural gas as well as the renewal of diplomatic relations with the West and the launch of Qatar’s arm for soft power – AlJazeera. This ambition and a difference in policy with Saudi Arabia ultimately caused the relationship between both countries to sour – leaving the country to branch out and explore its post-oil and gas future independently. 

Qatar’s decision to leave OPEC in 2019 was in part the result of the Saudi-led blockade which lasted from 2017 to 2021. It was also caused by the degree of Saudi influence in the group, which reportedly killed a deal Qatar had been working on with Iran. It was this blockade, however, that resulted in Qatar having to invest in sectors like agriculture since 49% of its food imports came from across the Middle East. According to Time Magazine, Qatar was importing 90% of its food in 2012, but it’s now 100% self-sufficient in fresh poultry and milk production. 

Three years after its OPEC exit, Qatar’s oil sales continue to drop, but its gas, the backbone of its economy, has had no problem selling. In 2022, Qatari gas sales increased 100% but some believe it could be a temporary increase given Russian sanctions. However, recent long term gas supply deals with Germany and China point to the contrary and Qatari gas is likely to remain in high demand for years to come. 

Sports Diplomacy 

Another arm for Qatari soft power is sports. It’s a similar case with other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but Qatar’s sports investments easily eclipse those of other countries. Sport has always been enmeshed in geopolitics ever since the days of Mussolini and the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and 2022’s World Cup appears to be no different. 

Qatar has been investing heavily in the world of sports since 1995 and even bought the French football club Paris St. Germain in 2011. Between 2004 and 2022, the country hosted 21 international sports while also hosting more niche sports events like golf, equestrian, and the Formula One Grand Prix.  Much of this is due to Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani who could be using sports to change how the world perceives his country – aka sportswashing.  

Given its small population and big ambitions, Qatar has handed out citizenships to trainers and athletes to improve its participation at these events. Qatar also started beIN Sports, its own sports channel which has been raking up broadcasting rights for years. Its possible that sports could help Qatar redefine how the world see’s itself – offering more opportunities both economic and diplomatic down the line.


Needless to say, hosting the 2022 World Cup has put the spotlight on Qatar and likely made many more people aware of the small gulf country. While not all of the publicity has been positive, this achieved at least one of Qatar’s goals since the state was eager to show its transformation into a Gulf metropolis on the world stage. As Al Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy shared, the World Cup is “meant to serve as an engine to push forward and accelerate a lot of the initiatives that the government has already committed to, already had planned, whether that’s in terms of urban development or economic diversification.”

Hosting the World Cup could also be a bid to establish itself as a competitor with Saudi Arabia and the UAE which have large markets for tourism. If Qatar is aiming to triple its number of tourists to reach 6 million a year by 2030, then this could be a step towards attracting the attention necessary to spur tourism. 

South Africa’s 2010 World Cup provides some hope for Qatar since its tourism sector grew following the event as its visitor numbers eventually hit 10.2 million in 2019 – contributing to almost 10% of its GDP. On the other hand, South Africa only generated £323 million in revenue despite spending $4 billion hosting the event.  

This means that the benefits Qatar achieves thanks to the World Cup will likely only present themselves over the long-term. The Qatari economy is expected to grow 3.4% in 2022 due to the World Cup but growth would then slow to only 1.7% in 2024 according to the IMF. Farther down the line, Qatar’s economy is forecast to grow more quickly, hitting 3.8% in 2027 thanks to liquified natural gas production coming online. 

At the same time, Qatar’s population is expected to decrease 1.2% YoY leaving it with a total population of 2.5 million in 2027. Part of this drop is due to white collar professionals and laborers leaving as projects finish up following the games. This is the opposite of what Qatar was hoping for since the World Cup was intended to attract talent, companies, and foreign direct investment. 

Now that spectators are departing, what remains are its huge infrastructure investments. Qatar’s real estate market was hot leading up to the games but once demand leaves with the World Cup, the market will be flooded with empty units. Some of the larger projects constructed for the games will also need to be carefully repurposed otherwise they will become a lasting drain on the country’s finances. However, the country’s $450 billion sovereign wealth fund and prosperous energy exports means the repercussions will likely not be severe  

On this note, it’s unclear whether Qatar’s non-energy economy will benefit from the World Cup at all since it’s expected to slow as the state-sponsored construction boom comes to an end. So far, construction leading up to the world cup has pushed its non-energy economy forward with the sector comprising around 12% of GDP

Time will tell if Qatar is able to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and attract not only tourists but expatriates with the skills and education to drive industry growth. But the $220 billion in infrastructure investments made leading up to the World Cup are undoubtedly part of a much larger growth strategy designed by Qatar as it aspires for economic diversification. 

So Who’s the Winner?

In short, there is only one World Cup champion and that is FIFA. Time and time again, the costs for World Cup events fall on the host countries while FIFA generates money from the sale of TV, marketing, and licensing rights for football events. TV broadcasting rights alone are estimated at $2.64 billion and all of the revenue from ticket sales goes straight to a subsidiary company wholly owned by FIFA. Even merchandise from FIFA partner brands are sold with tax breaks which means none of the sale contributes to the country’s own tax revenues. However, FIFA does cover the cost of operations for the duration of the World Cup, which is expected to be around $1.7 billion for the 2022 World Cup, as well as the $440 million prize money for participants.

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As is, the 2022 World Cup is expected to be FIFA’s most lucrative yet as it forecasts $7 billion in revenue from the event. Compared to the $5.36 billion made in 2018, this has been a very profitable World Cup for the association.

How it Correlates With the Stock Market

With millions watching the World Cup its no surprise that studies have found a correlation between the event and price action. One study published in the Journal of Finance found that depending on whether their team won or lost at the tournament, the country’s stock market would react accordingly. Country’s whose team lost would see a significantly below average return the next day whereas Goldman Sachs reported that the the victor typically outperformed the global market by 3.5% in the first month.

Given that there are many losers and only one World Cup champion, it may be more profitable to focus on the losing teams. With that in mind, the 2007 study “Sports Sentiment and Stock Returns” found a strong negative stock market reaction to losses by national soccer teams. These losses are economically significant since the excess returns associated with a soccer loss exceeded 7% in the study. Rather than this being a rational reaction based on cash flow relevant information, it appears that this is merely the impact of the results on investors’ mood. The effects were also most prominent in Western European countries and small stocks which are largely held by local investors. With this in mind, elimination games between countries where soccer is culturally important could lead to an even more pronounced effect – offering the opportunity to short the loser’s indices

However, this year’s World Cup may be an anomaly since the event was moved to November and December instead of its traditional dates. This means that economic events such as tax loss harvesting, the Santa rally, and early indications that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s position would be dovish at December’s meeting have influenced the price action of these indices. Setting this aside, we’ve taken a look at the performance of several countries’ indices following their elimination from the World Cup in the final rounds to see if there is an impact similar to the study’s results.

Morocco 2022 World Cup

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Looking at the MSCI Morocco which covers 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in Morocco, we see that an almost 30 day rally comes to an end on December 14th – the same day that Morocco was defeated by France in the semi-finals. Then on the 17th, the index continues to downtrend after a brief rally. This also aligns with Morocco’s defeat by Croatia in the third place playoffs. Of course, the run could have ended due to other macro economic factors or simply due to overextension as the market pulled back from its extended rally.

Croatia 2022 World Cup

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As for the CROBEX10, this index includes the top ten CROBEX index shares from the Zagreb Stock Exchange based on free float market capitalization and turnover. On December 13th Croatia lost in the semi-finals to Argentina and the index fell further the following day. Considering that Croatia won silver in 2018’s World Cup, its unexpected defeat in the 2022 World Cup would have affected investor sentiment as appears to be reflected in this small index.

Argentina 2022 World Cup

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Now, according to Goldman Sachs, the World Cup has a brief but noticeable impact on the winning country’s market. This impact is most noticeable during the weeks following the FIFA World Cup, but these gains do not last since on average its stock market underperforms by roughly 4% following the final.

This theory is well supported since all the winners since 1974 have outperformed in the post-final month according to available stock market data. For example, in 1994 Brazil outperformed the MSCI World index by 21% one month after its win. Even after that the trend continued, leading Brazil’s market to outperform by 38% over that three month period.

Since Argentina is a nation of football fans, its no surprise that the index shows a 10% increase at the start of the World Cup in November. The index also moved up 19% starting on the 16th of December as Argentina’s team entered the final round of the World Cup.

For comparison the MSCI World index is actually down .5% from the same date. Therefore, investors may have the opportunity to long their pick for the 2026 World Cup to benefit from these short term gains.

Qatar 2022 World Cup

Considering the investments Qatar made leading up to the 2022 World Cup, one might expect to see a reaction from the Qatari market at the start of the games. This is actually typical of host countries which tend to outperform the MSCI World index the year following the World Cup thanks to foreign investments and tailwinds from the World Cup. In fact, over the past seven World Cups, the host countries’ MSCI indices increased an average of 21.8% the year leading up to the World Cup and 13.4% over the following year. As is, investors may expect the MSCI Qatar Index to outperform the MSCI World Index which grew 4.3% and 9.5% on average during the same time periods.

So far Qatar has received more than $4 billion in foreign inflows over the first 10 months of 2022 and could follow the trend observed over the last few World Cups. For example, the QE Index which tracks the performance of the 20 most liquid companies traded on the Qatar Exchange, increased roughly 11% in 2021. During the first 4 months of 2022, the QE ran almost 28% before dropping back to levels last seen at the start of the year. By July it had recovered some ground only to continue falling after August. Year to date, the QE Index is down 7.6%. Besides a brief 2% rally at the start of the World Cup in November, the index has shown no noticeable reaction to the World Cup.

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The MSCI Qatar index reflects the same price action and is also down year to date. However, based on the previous performance of host countries’ markets the year following the World Cup, the MSCI Qatar could recover in 2023. Still there is also the possibility that Qatar is an anomaly. Brazil’s market bucked the trend and fell 34% in 2015 despite hosting the World Cup the year prior, although this was due to domestic problems.

After Qatar was awarded the right to host the World Cup in 2010, the QE Index saw explosive growth from April 2013 to November 2014 – rising 68% in the process. This growth abruptly came to an end and it started to decline eventually forming new lows at the end of 2017 when the a diplomatic crisis led to a blockade of Qatar in June 2017. Since the QE Index formed a new support at 10,128 Qatari Rials prior to the pandemic, this will be an important level to watch.

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FIFA World Cup Sponsorships & Official Partners

But for more risk-adverse traders there are other ways to trade the FIFA World Cup without focusing on a team’s performance. For one, there are the event’s official partners and sponsors which are given significant publicity throughout the event. The World Cup’s list of sponsors is usually released well in advance, offering investors the opportunity to choose the most liquid stocks to trade.

In this case, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) are two picks which have long-standing agreements with FIFA. The visibility these companies received throughout the 2022 World Cup was considerable, but how significant is the impact?

Looking at KO stock, there has been a roughly 5% increase since the start of the World Cup. With the stock trading near its $64 resistance, its appears that any momentum gained from the World Cup has not been enough to break past this strong resistance level. However, the impacts of the World Cup could be revealed later on in February when the company reports its Q4 earnings. If the event resulted in greater demand for its products, then KO stock could reflect it further down the line.

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As for MCD stock, the chart shows a retest of its resistance near its all time high of $281 almost a week before the end of the World Cup. Based on this, it appears that MCD stock did not benefit in any specific way thanks to the company’s role in the world cup which could indicate that sponsors and official partners who do not actively promote or create products for the World Cup may not offer a profitable short term trading opportunity.

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2022 World Cup Kit Makers

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A few companies which will directly benefit from the World Cup are the team kit manufacturers. These companies were responsible for producing the uniforms for all the different teams playing at the 2022 World Cup and with an estimated 3.5 billion soccer fans in the world, demand for team jerseys could drive sales for these companies in Q4.

Nike (NYSE: NKE), Adidas (ETR: ADS), and Puma (ETR: PUM) are the most likely to see an uptick in sales since these three companies account for 26 out of the 32 teams. Nike produced uniforms for teams with devoted followings such as France, Croatia, England, Portugal, and the USA. However, Adidas was responsible for the uniforms of Germany, Belgium, Spain, Argentina, Japan, Mexico, and Wales. Not only did Adidas produce uniforms for this year’s champion, but also for countries with huge football followings like Germany, Spain, and Belgium. Adidas could have the most to gain from this year’s World Cup since it was also FIFA’s partner and the producer of the official tournament ball.

Although Puma stock may be one to watch, it likely won’t see a huge sales boost since most of the teams it designed uniforms for did not make it to the final rounds with the notable exception of Morocco which nearly finished in third place.

As for Nike and Adidas, the competition has been fierce. Before the World Cup reached its conclusion, Nike had sold out of 23% of its World Cup merchandise in the US within two weeks. During the same time period, Adidas had a sell out rate of 11% however the Adidas logo had a lot more screen time during the event which may benefit the company’s sales over time. Additionally, now that the winner has been determined, Adidas could see more demand for Argentina’s jerseys in particular. As is, the company’s earnings are expected increase 61.4% this quarter following its exposure at the World Cup.

On the other hand, Nike has a higher average price point for its products than Adidas. Nike listed 397 items in its National Teams section and Adidas listed 380. While not all of these products represent teams which played at the 2022 World Cup, Nike’s ability to sell its more expensive products, more quickly and without offering a discount like Adidas could indicate that NKE stock has the most to benefit from the 2022 World Cup.

Nike is set to report its Q4 earnings in March of 2023 and is already expected to benefit from holiday demand. However, it could also perform better than expected thanks to this catalyst boosting sales. As for Adidas, the company is expected to report its earnings in March as well. While Adidas has a lot going for it in terms of its partnership with FIFA, its catalog of World Cup team uniforms, and its relationship with the winning team, the company also has a number of issues which make make Adidas stock the riskier option. Adidas is looking for a turnaround after facing weaker sales, controversy due to its relationship with Kanye West, and poor performance in China.


Another often overlooked player in all of this are the bookmakers. Rather than trying to pick the winner, go with the house! Since the 2022 World Cup was watched by fans all over the world, it stands to reason that bookmakers would see an influx in the number of bets being placed.

While you may know Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) for its casinos and resorts, its also the world’s largest gambling company in terms of revenue. With sportsbook locations and kiosks across the US, CZR is one bookmaker which may benefit from football fans’ enthusiasm during the 2022 World Cup. The company also has a mobile sports betting app which means means a much wider range of people could have placed bets throughout the event.

Another company worth looking at is Flutter Entertainment (LSE:FLTR)(OTC:PDYPY). Since the World Cup is a global event with the majority of fans located outside of the US, sports betting stocks with an international presence could have more to gain than those operating entirely in the US market. Flutter Entertainment operates not only in the US, but the mature markets of the UK, Ireland, and Australia as well.

Flutter owns FanDuel which had an estimated 40% share of the US’ online sports betting market in 2021. It is also the leading operator in the UK and Ireland where it is benefiting from the shift towards online sports betting. Flutter also claims a 50% share of Australia’s online sports betting market thanks to SportsBet, making its exposure to these different countries a bullish sign for the stock.

While DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) is exclusive to the United States, it is the second-largest online sportsbook in the country. Compared to other sports betting stocks, DKNG also has a lower share price despite owning 25% of the market. This is because it is investing heavily in new markets now since it is a purely online sports betting operator. As is, it has operations across 17 states which could benefit the stock as it reports its Q4 earnings in February of 2023.


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