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The World Cup is really a gigantic advertising feast with a bit of soccer on the side

People stand in front of a bank of television screens showing the World Cup.
Reuters/Issei Kato
The whole world is watching.
By John McDuling, Jason Karaian
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The 2014 World Cup, which some people think will be the biggest event in the history of television, will boost global advertising spending by $1.5 billion this year, according to new figures from ZenithOptimedia. The world’s biggest brands are already battling to get maximum exposure from the enormous audiences the quadrennial festival-of-the-boot attracts.

The media agency, which is part of the French ad giant Publicis, says worldwide spending on advertising will reach a staggering $524 billion in 2014, 5.4% higher than last year:


It’s interesting to note that North America’s share of total global advertising spending has declined markedly since 1980, from consistently around half of global ad spending to around a third today. That is explained by rapid growth in spending in Asia, and to a lesser extent other fast-growing emerging markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

On average, the advertising market has grown by 2.9% in constant-currency terms since 1980, according to ZenithOptimedia’s data. Yet in World Cup years ad spending growth has averaged  3.6%.


As the chart above shows, World Cup years tend to be less volatile for advertising spending than non-Cup years. Even though the US is beginning to embrace soccer, the World Cup’s global appeal means that as the advertising industry becomes less dependent on the US, this dynamic could grow even stronger.

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