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The Week in Women's Football: Breaking down the 2023 Women's World Cup bids

This week we examine in depth the four bids for the 2023 Women's World Cup that FIFA received last month from Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia and Japan.



2023 Women's World Cup Bids Examination

We examine in detail the four bids for the 2023 Women's World Cup from Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia and Japan, which FIFA received by the deadline of December 13, 2019. We reviewed the Bid Books from each Federation(s) proposal for the tournament and examined—where possible—the financial aspects, which will be important to FIFA for an expanded tournament from the past two editions (32 teams up from 24). After the detail on each bid, we will provide an opinion on the chances of success for each effort. An inspection tour of the countries and key infrastructure is due early this year with the final decision taken at the FIFA Congress in June.

Each book is divided into five major sections and then subsections within most, as follows:

A. Event Vision and Key Metrics

  1. Hosting Vision and Strategy
  2. Women's football: Development and Legacy
  3. Communication and Event Promotion
  4. General Information: Host Country/ Countries and Host Cities
  5. Event Timing

B. Event Infrastructure

  1. Stadiums
  2. Team and Referee Facilities
  3. IBC Site
  4. The Women's World Cup 2023-Related Event Sites

C. Event Services

  1. Accommodation
  2. Transport
  3. Safety & Security
  4. Health, Medical and Doping County
  5. IT&T

D. Commercial

  1. Revenues andContributions
  2. Organizing Costs

E. Human Rights and Sustainability

17. Human Rights and Sustainability

We start with the Australia/New Zealand bid, then Japan as both are primarily Asian Football Confederation bids, and then look at the two from CONMEBOL members Brazil and Colombia.

Australia and New Zealand Bid Together for 2023 Women's World Cup

The Football Federations of Australia and New Zealand announced last month that they would prepare a joint bid for the 2023 Women's World Cup. This is not only a bid across two countries but two confederations as Australia is a member of the Asian Football Confederation and New Zealand is the pillar of the Oceania Football Confederation as the biggest nation among Polynesian island nations. The proposed venues for the Australia/New Zealand competition include 8 in Australia (in 7 cities) and 5 in New Zealand:

Australia

Sydney (2): Stadium Australia (70,000 capacity) and Sydney Football Stadium (42,512)

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (30,052)

Brisbane Stadium (52,263)
Perth Rectangular Stadium (22,225)

Adelaide Hindmarsh Stadium (18,435)

Newcastle Stadium (25,945)

Launceston (Tasmania) York Park (22,065)

New Zealand

Auckland Eden Park (48,276)

Wellington Stadium (39,000)

Christchurch Stadium (22,556)

Hamilton Waikato Stadium (25,111)

Dunedin Stadium (28,744)

Fifty-four training camps would also be staged around these venues as well as in the Capital City of Canberra (Australia) and Napier (New Zealand).

The Australia/New Zealand bid book states that the two nations have a combined population of 29 million people and they definitely see the two confederations issue as the opportunity to build a bridge between the confederations of Asia and Oceania rather than as a barrier (which has been the case particularly with club teams joining a league in another Confederation, as we have seen with New Zealand teams in Australia's A-League, which have been reluctantly tolerated by the AFC), "We are the bridge between two confederations: Asia and Oceania. We bring the opportunity to drive the development of women's football across two distinct regions united by their love of the game. We are nations who are champions of gender equality and the empowerment of women with exemplary records of commitment to the structural foundations that will ensure equality can be achieved."

A successful bid would help the two nations continue to grow women's football, "Australia is a leading nation in women's football participation globally, with over 110,000 registered female players at the grassroots level. Despite this, only 21% of all participants [in the nation] are female." One of their goals in hosting includes achieving a 50/50 split in registered players by gender in Australia by 2027. "In New Zealand, women's football is a strategic priority for New Zealand Football [Federation] (NZF) and has been since New Zealand hosted the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in 2008. Through the women's football strategy, Map to Success, a targeted approach has seen growth in female participation of 35% in the past five years." The New Zealand federation wants to sustain that 7% growth rate in women footballers in the country. Another goal is to partner with FIFA, the AFC and OFC and governments, "to deliver participation programs across the Asia-Pacific region."

Additionally, for women and girls, the joint bid committee hopes to, "change the face of society through football by positioning Australia and New Zealand as global hubs for advancing women's sport, leading system-wide regional women's leadership, professional development and social participation programs, and building on the structural foundations already in place in our countries to drive gender equality, diversity and inclusion."

On the financial and marketing side, the local organizing bid group hopes to garner, "Unprecedented level of investment in FIFA's showpiece event that will stimulate sustained commercial growth in the women's game through:

Significant investment by the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

Corporate sector investment in media rights and sponsorship from two developed sports economies.

Opening doors to new investment opportunities for FIFA across the Asia-Pacific region.

Scheduling kick off times to maximize broadcast exposure and continued investment from other regions.

Record attendances of 1.5 million people."

Specific strategies in Australia to attract More Women and Girls to play football include:

"The Soccer Mums program, a football program to encourage mothers to be physically active.

Kick On, an introductory confidence-building football program for girls aged 13-17 years.

A football program for culturally and linguistically diverse women and girls from migrant communities.

Introducing new forms of the game, including social summer football and walking football.

Football Federation Australia will also harness the 2023 FWWC to advance opportunities with Indigenous Australians and promote participation among female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders throughits partnership with [the well–established] John Moriarty Football [the first indigenous Australian to play for the national team]."

In terms of pathway opportunities for women and girls, "Australia Hosting the 2023 FWWC will fast-track achievement of FFA's Gender Equality Action Plan targets for female player development. The key initiatives planned in the lead-up to the 2023 FWWC in Australia include:

Establishing girls' academies across Australia to strengthen the female pathway. Increasing the frequency of female youth national team camps and matches.Achieving full national coverage of the state-based Women's National Premier Leagues.

In the period leading up to 2023, development of a structured and dynamic annual calendar of women's football in Australia, anchored by the vibrant W-League, will be a focus. This includes:

Expansion of the W-League competition to incorporate more teams.

Extension of the W-League season to include a complete home and away match calendar.

An average minimum of 11 fixtures annually in Australia for the Matildas."

In New Zealand, the federation will also benefit, "from a clear football pathway for women and girls. The award-winning Whole of Football Plan starts with the First Kicks program for preschoolers through to the Future Ferns Development Program. Hosting the 2023 FWWC in New Zealand will heighten awareness as well as continue to develop and build on our women's football/futsal pathways. The legacy will include:

A stronger base of players, coaches, referees and administrators.

Expansion of our national competitions.

Development of our talent pathways.

More high level games for our Football Ferns.

Across Asia and Oceania, the bid committee, recognize our role as leading women's football nations, uniquely placed to advance women's football development across the Asia Pacific region. Specific initiatives will include:

Inviting developing AFC and OFC teams to FFA's annual 'Cup of Nations' friendly four-nations tournament.

Hosting more girls' youth international fixtures featuring AFC and OFC opponents.

Increasing senior women's national team match opportunities for teams in the Asia-Pacific region in preparation for the expanded format of the 2023 FWWC.

Hosting women's coaching and technical workshops.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) and New Zealand Football (NZF) confirmed that the 2023 FWWC can be staged in Australia and New Zealand between 10 July and 20 August 2023 and FIFA's proposed window presents no significant hosting risks.

There was minimal information on the tournament budget and revenues, which the bid book said would be completed by September of 2020.

Opinion

The two country bid by Australia and New Zealand is an interesting approach for the 2023 expanded Women's World Cup (with 32 teams) and the two nations share clubs in the soccer men's A-League (Wellington Phoenix) and the National Rugby League (New Zealand Warriors in Auckland), so they have a common history of working together. Australia hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the men's Asian Cup for Football in 2015, a very well received event in the country which helped to solidify Australia's place among their fellow Asian federations. Each nation has hosted major Cricket and Rugby events as well. If the Korea Republic and Japan—with their high level of competitiveness and past animosities after Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula during the first half of the last century—can pull off a joint men's World Cup in 2002, one would expect that the Australia-New Zealand's joint effort should go much more smoothly. New Zealand women's national team head coach Tom Sermanni was the Matildas coach for years and should be an asset to the bidding process. Australia's national team should still be seen as a definite top 4 team in 2023 led by now Chelsea forward Sam Kerr. New Zealand has never advanced from the first round in 5 WWC's (including the last 4 tournaments) and seemed quite overmatched in France where they finished 20th of 24 teams, but the support of a fervent home crowd should power the Football Ferns to new success on the field. (This reporter was in Wellington in late 2009 covering the second leg of the New Zealand-Bahrain WWC interregional play-in, which New Zealand won 1-0 in front of a sell-out crowd to advance to the South African World Cup in 2010 and which set off memorably all night partying in the streets).

Regarding Australia, there is an intent to further develop the W-League to expand to a longer season (currently only 12 games and four team playoffs). With more funding, this will take the W-League away from being comprised of so many teenagers on their rosters (which has certainly worked in boosting the national teams program) and beyond it being sort of an off-season adjunct to the NWSL and Scandinavian seasons, to fully professionalize it for all of its players.

This joint bid effort, if successful, should be a huge boost to the Oceania Confederation, which has struggled of late to keep up with other regions on the men's and women's side. The goal to expand women's football programs across Asia-Pacific is needed, particularlyin Southeast Asia and Oceania. If the bidding federations can deliver on the new sponsor side—which is intimated in the minimal revenue information provided—though whether they will be country-based or international companies with key locations in the two countries was not specified. The marketing side is a key component for FIFA and this probably needs more specification as Australia in particular is not the easiest country to raise funds in (particularly for sponsorship) but the government is supportive and will be the backup plan in terms of any funding shortfalls. The potential of a highly profitable tournament for FIFA should drive the two federations to winning the bid, overcoming the negative of the need to travel by plane to the proposed venue sites, as intercity trains are not really viable for fan and team transfer around venues. The 13 venues (12 cities) is the most of any other competitive bid, and could be seen as a plus to involve more people in the two countries, but is also more costly to arrange than a 8-9 city option (France had 9 venues for 24 teams and Canada used 6 in 2015). If the AU-NZ bid is selected by FIFA, one would hope that Oceania would receive an extra 2023 World Cup berth as well as New Zealand as a host, which will help drive improvement on the women's side in a region that the Football Ferns have dominated to date. The Australia-New Zealand bid should be at the top of the consideration list, along with Japan's bid. Though it is a quite different FIFA Executive Committee than during the bidding for the 2022 Men's World Cup when Australia spent millions on their bid effort and received one vote, approving this bid may be seen as a chance to FIFA to make some amends with the AFF.

Japan is the Second Asian Confederation Member to Bid for the 2023 WWC

Japan won the Women's World Cup in 2011 as well as the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and 2019 U-20 Women's World Cup, the only country to win all 3 women's FIFA events. They co-hosted the 2002 men's World Cup with the Korea Republic and also hosted the Rugby World Cup 2019 and will host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sapporo, in the north, hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics and the 2017 Eighth Asian Winter Games. The bid book emphasizes that Japan has been interested in hosting the WWC since 2007, the last time it was held in Asia (in China).

The eight proposed cities for the bid include:

Kobe Misaka Stadium

Kyoto Stadium

Saitama Stadium

Sapporo Dome

Sendai Stadium

Suita City Football Stadium

Tokyo National Stadium

Toyota Stadium

Two venues are new: the Kyoto Stadium will open next year and will have a capacity of 21,600 while the Tokyo National Stadium opened in December of 2019 with capacity ranging from 68,000 to 80,000, depending on the configuration.

One goal of the Japan Football Association (JFA) is to establish a fully professional women's league in 2021, the centennial year of the JFA.

FIFA's preferred hosting dates are July 10-August 20 but the JFA would like to have the tournament from early June-early July, for better weather conditions.

In terms of financials, the major sources of income from a 2023 WWC in Japan would be:

National Supporters

Ticketing

Hospitality

Merchandising

Food and Beverage Concessions

Financial Contributions

There is not a lot of detail on the financials but the government does have a sports promotion and subsidy system that can be utilized, with an upper ceiling of subsidies of 80 million yen per year (US$730,000) for preparations (or US$2,190,000 for a three year preparation period) and 200 million yen (US$1,824,000 for support during the competition), which the JFA would plan to apply for. The combined amount of approximately $US4,000,000 would go some way towards offsetting expenses.

Opinion

This bid is probably the key competitor for the Australia/New Zealand joint effort. Some key advantages is the US $4 Million in sports grants from the government, but the total expenses could range in the $25-$50 Million range so other sources of revenue must be tapped. With so many large automotive companies and other major companies headquartered in the country, the marketing potential is very robust. Japan's strong experience in hosting global and Asian Federation tournaments, along with their winning pedigree in women's championship tournaments, as well as the promise to professionalize their women's league in 2021, are all strong pluses. Another advantage is the easy traveling for supporters and officials by the excellent Japanese rail system—the only bid of the four with that easy capability—which one can easily use to avoid internal country flights if they want to. Japan has the capabilities to do a very nice job with this tournament and it comes down to whether FIFA wants to take a safe approach (certainly warranted with an expanded tournament) and go to Northeast Asia, or take a development path and go to South East Asia/Oceania or to South America. Not having full budget information for either the AU/NZ or JFA bid makes it a little difficult to call at this point but the marketing potential and development plans from each bid could be the key decider for FIFA.

Brazil Presents 2023 WWC bid for Southern CONMEBOL

The eight Brazilian cities (with the stadium and capacity) proposed to host the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 are:

Belo Horizonte Estádio Mineirão (63,876)

Brasília Estádio Mané Garrincha (72,231)

Manaus Arena da Amazônia (44,000)

Porto Alegre Estádio Beira-Rio (48,727)

Recife Arena de Pernambuco (44,300)

Rio de Janeiro Estádio do Maracanã (78,838)

Salvador Arena Fonte Nova (47,911)

São Paulo Arena Corinthians (49,688)

The Brazilian bid presents 8 host cities but they state that they could cut it down to 6 to make it more convenient.

In order to have a wider spread of publicity for the tournament, they will use training sites outside of the host cities. Some of these sites outside of the host cities include: Vitoria in the State of Espirito Santoon the Northeastern Coast, Juiz De For and Sete Lagoas in Mineras Gerais (Belo Horizonte), Mangaratiba and Teresopolis in Rio Janeiro, Guaruja, Itu, Atibaia, Cotia, Mata De Sao Joao, Campinas, Porto Feliz, Sao Jose Dos Campos, Sorocaba, Aguas De Lindoia, Mogi Das Cruzes, Santos (the port city famous for Pele's club) Braganca Paulista and Ribeirao Preto in Sao Paolo State, along with Sao Paolo suburban sites Sao Bernardo and Sao Caetano (the latter the automotive manufacturing hub for the country), Goiania in the State of Goias in West-central Brazil, Mata De Sao Joao (in Bahia in the Northeast), Palmas in the State of Tocantins in North CentralBrazil, Curitiba and Foz do Iguacu (the tremendous falls bordering Argentina and Paraguay) in Parana State, Florinopolis in the Southern State of Santa Catarina and Vilmao in Rio Grande do Sul in the South.

As far as benefits to the country from hosting the tournament, the Bid Book stated that: "2019 represented a milestone for the evolution of women's football in Brazil. The inclusion of the obligation to promote women's football brought vital investment and new records in the number of women playing football professionally. In under two years, Brazil went from just 30 professional women players to over 420. About 320 of these athletes are performing in competitions in Brazil this season. The number of women seeking specialization in courses promoted by CBF Academy has also increased considerably, especially in areas such as management, coaching licenses, performance analysis and goalkeeper training. The CBF's investments in women's football are increasing yearly, helping to not only improve conditions for the national team (as the hiring of renowned coach Pia Sundhage [ex-Sweden and U.S. women's national team coach] proves), but also encouraging and supporting the development of female divisions at all clubs to try and plug the gap women players face on their path to a professional career in the sport….2020 will include five national tournaments, two in the adult category including the two series of the Brazilian Championship and three in the grassroots, with the start of U-18 and U-16 national grassroots competitions. Those tournaments will involve a total of 96 teams playing in 382 games, which will be held in all five regions of the country."

2020 Brazilian Women's League Competition Format—Participating Number of Teams and Number of Games

Brazilian Women's Championship A-1 Single group 16 clubs 16—134

Brazilian Women's Championship A-2 6 groups of 6 clubs 36—120

U18 Women's Brazilian Championship 6 groups of 4 clubs 24—90

U16 Women's Brazilian Championship 3 groups of 4 clubs 12—22

U-14 Football Development Tournament 2 groups of 4 clubs 8—16

Other examples of the growth in women's football that were cited in the Bid Book included, "a full house in São Paulo, in November 2019, for the women's match between Corinthians and São Paulo at Arena Corinthians, which saw 40,000 fans collect ticket from club offices in less than 24 hours. All competitions promoted by the Member Association (the CBF) include live coverage on free to view television, or live streaming. As examples, Mycujoo broadcast over 200 matches from all four professional women's divisions and Twitter broadcast a further 23 A1 women's matches."

The Brazilian bid has a unique approach to continue the legacy of the games after the tournament via: "A 'Thank You Tour' is the least we can do to recognize the effort of a whole country and to shed light on the women who helped build and deliver the greatest competition in women's football. It will also be an opportunity to recognize the effort from our Host Cities, commercial partners and Brazilians in general. It should also attenuate the so-called 'World Cup Blues' that follows the event and create a buzz for athletes and partners."

The Brazilian Bid Book said that the FIFA suggested July 13 to August 13 window was fine and even had a mock-up schedule for the games and groups per city.

For the financials, they are described as: "The revenues that will support this event will come from private sources and with the idea of a self-sustainable project, where sources of revenue will be sufficient to meet the necessary costs for the organization of this competition. The main sources of these funds will be local supporters, who will acquire both brand association and exposure rights, ticket sales, hospitality packages, food and beverage, and licensed products."

The Brazilian bid has detailed information on expenses and revenues and anticipates selling 1,114,746 tickets totaling sales of US$38,345,300 (at an average ticket price of US$34). Additional revenues will come from Hospitality (Business seats and skybox seats) totaling US$27,626,000 for 92,850 tickets (for an average price of $298 per ticket).

They also hope to realize US$3,000,000 in total from 6 national level sponsors (US$500,000 each). The total revenues would be $70,693,990. There is no planned government investment, which should avoid the wrath of the citizens who protested vigorously ahead of the 2014 World Cup ad 2016 Rio Olympics, which were heavily dependent on government support, particularly for venue construction. The Bid Book states: "The estimate of costs under the responsibility of the CBF takes into consideration the fact that there is no type of public funding whatsoever for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™, except for those which are naturally inherent to the public forces and that were assured through any documentation provided together with this application. The preparation of the proposed budget also took into consideration all previous experience acquired by the country in organizing recent mega sporting events to come to Brazil, including the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013™ and the FIFA World Cup 2014™."

For the expenditures, they are estimated as follows:

2020 US$1,503,000

2021 US$8,796,000

2022 US$12,129,000

2023 US$44,323,000

Total US$66,751,000

Net profit after the tournament would be US$3,942,990. All the financials have been adjusted for inflation.

Opinion


We like the creative post-tournament 'Thank You Tour' idea but the playing numbers and overall awareness of women's football is so low in Brazil that this tournament really would be a move for development only and financially could be difficult if the projections—as well detailed as they are in the Bid Book—are off. As it is, a US$4 Million profit is laudable as well as the plan of not using any government funds—which should be well received by the general populace—but this profit, if realized, could be dwarfed by potential revenue from Japan or Australia and New Zealand. As with the other bids apart from Japan, train travel is not viable in most of the country and fans and teams would have to fly to all the cities, which are spread across the country from the far north to the south. Another perceived strength could also be a negative in that Brazil hosted the 2013 Confederations Cup, 2014 men's World Cup, 2016 Olympic Games and 2019 U-17 World Cup and CONMEBOL Copa America, which might be seen as oversaturation, which could dampen attendance at the Women's World Cup. The idea of cutting to 6 venues could further damage the national reach of the competition.

As applicable as well for the Colombia bid (below), I expect that FIFA will pass on a South American WWC in 2023 and look seriously again for 2027, as well as a possible African bid (South Africa or Nigeria/Ghana). There just is too big of a risk of low attendance figures at some of the first round and Round of 16 stage matches, and with increased costs with a larger tournament, poor attendance numbers at the Women's World Cup could stall the immense growth from past events, particularly in 2011 (Germany), 2015 (Canada) and 2019 (France). At least more countries are bidding in 2023 rather than with WWC 2015, when Canada won in a walkover over Zimbabwe as the only competition, which most people never took seriously.

Colombia Prepares a Northern CONMEBOL bid for 2023 WWC

The 10 cities, stadium and capacity for Colombia's 2023 Women's World Cup proposal are:

Bogotá—Nemesio Camacho El Campin—39,512

Cali—Olimpico Pascual Guerrero—38,558

Medellín—Atanasio Girardot—44,863

Barranquilla—Metropolitano Roberto Melendez—46,692

Cartagena—Olimpico Jaime Moron Leon—20,000

Bucaramanga—Alfonso Lopez—28,000

Armenia—Centenario Stadium, 23,500

Pereira—Hernan Ramirez Villegas—20,297

Manizales—Palogrande—31,611

Cúcuta—General Santander—32,163

All the stadia are completed except for the Cucuta venue, which is under renovation.

These cities have already had the opportunity to host major sporting events including the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2016 and the FIFA U-20 Men's World Cup in 2011.

Colombia, the two-time WWC participant (2011 and 2015) had extensive information on the development of their league structure in their Bid Book: "Since 1991 the Colombian Football Fans Division (Difutbol) began to hold women's football championships. Since then, it has received constant support, giving women footballers in Colombia opportunities and training in the sport….The Major Division of Colombian Football [men's] (Dimayor), made the decision in 2016 to create the Professional Women's League, which was established in 2017. Since then, there have been 3 editions: the first one included 18 participating teams, in which Independiente Santa Fe was champion. In 2018, 23 teams disputed the championship, with Atletico Huila finishing in first place; and the third edition, held in 2019 with 20 teams, in which the America de Cali was crowned as the winner of the championship. It is important to highlight that the Women's Professional League is a step forward towards achieving equality for women in football in Colombia and the region, where thanks to the visibility of our efforts and the results of our players, we have been able to push the implementation of such leagues in other countries of the region. Since the beginning of the Women's Professional League, the number of registered players has increased significantly and currently 20,645 players are registered in the Expert Competition Management System - COMET, of which 53% belong to the categories 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, that is, players between 16 and 20 years old. These numbers show that since the beginning of the Women's Professional League, more women have been motivated to play football and continue their training processes. Although there is still a long way to go, better conditions have been promoted to see women's football as a professional opportunity and lifestyle.Although women footballers in Colombia do not have sufficient income to devote themselves to full-time football, without resorting to additional activities or income, the realization in Colombia of the first Women's World Cup to be held in South America in 2023, would be an essential impulse to scale this sport to another level, allowing a greater investment in sports infrastructure suitable for women, to provide better guarantees and promote better sports quality. Also, it will give girls, adolescents and future generations' new references to follow and a chance to live women's football, closely creating a culture around it."

One unique aspect of the bid compared with the other 3 is the extensive time given to pre-event planning market research. The bid document describes that they will have: "Access to cutting-edge market research will be available, providing key data to understand the behavior of the target audience: psychographic profiles, consumption habits and behavior. The Colombian Football Federation will develop an extensive database of sports fans and their interests, in order to have clear trends and opportunities to improve the experience of The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023. We seek to obtain quantitative data from the attendees of the event, to determine how their behaviors change with regard to variables such as price and distances, among others. As FIFA's vision seeks to develop a system for managing interaction with fans as one of its top priorities, the information resulting from this investigation will be made available to FIFA members for its use. On the other hand, this information will allow creating key communication messages to generate a relationship based on trust with the fans."

"In Colombia there is a champion of Copa Libertadores (Atlético Huila in 2018—the South American Club Championship) and recently the women of the National Team won gold medal in the Pan American Championship in Lima."

The Colombian Football Federation was fine with the proposed dates of July 13-Aug 13

The budget details in the bid book state that US$842,000 would be spent in 2020, US$4,394,000 in 2021, US$6,735,000 in 2022 and US$16,858,000 in 2023, for a four year total of US$28,829,000.

Colombia expected 45% stadium capacity at games for a realistic expectation of ticket revenue.

Opinion

As a market researcher, I like Colombia's data driven approach to marketing for the games and sponsorships. Colombia is the second largest country on the continent (50 million), behind only Brazil's 200 Million but ahead of Argentina (44 Million) and Peru (32 Million). Colombia's professional league is essentially the de-facto home for the Venezuelan women's national team players, so a successful bid would help build the game in both countries and also possibly Ecuador (2015 WWC participants) and the CONCACAF members states on the northern edge of the continent (Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana). The fact that there is no extensive train system in the country for fan and team transit is a downside but Colombia is a beautiful country and Cartegena is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. When I was planning my first World Cup visit for the 1986 event, Colombia was originally scheduled to host it but it was then switched to Mexico for security and infrastructure reasons, so it would be nice to see Colombia receive this bid. However, there was detailed budget information on expenses but not on revenues, which seems focused only on ticket sales and beverage sales that would yield approximately US$3 Million, but not nearly offsetting the US$28Million in expenses that are detailed. We would expect fewer financial benefits from sponsors and ticket sales than in Japan or Australia-New Zealand, which could lead to a post-tournament loss. FIFA will have to balance the financial risks of staging the World Cup in Colombia versus Asia against the impact on women's football growth overall. We definitely want to see a South American Women's World Cup and Colombia or Brazil would be excellent hosts. I expect that FIFA will pass on a South American WWC in 2023 and look seriously again for 2027, as well as strong consideration for a possible African bid (South Africa or Nigeria/Ghana), to grow the game in regions where women have struggled for equality in sport and other endeavors.

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

Tim Grainey
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