One year on from the award of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ to Russia it appears that positivity surrounding the tournament is already at a high level. With seven years to go until the FIFA World Cup™ in Russia kicks off, FIFA’s latest global market research investigation looked to shed light on the thoughts, hopes and aspirations of the Russian people at this early stage in the preparation process.
The study reveals that 51 per cent of the Russian population is aware that the FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia in 2018. This awareness level rises to 61 per cent among those interested in football. This figure can be expected to rise in the coming years as 2018 approaches and the nation begins to turn its attention to the impending arrival of world football’s flagship event.
The research also highlights that Russians have faith in the steps taken by the LOC and Russian Government in preparation for the tournament. Of those aware that the event will take place in Russia, 74 per cent believe that it will prove to be a great success.
A total 43 per cent of the Russian population is either ‘interested’ or ‘very interested’ in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This interest can also be expected to rise in the coming years, particularly driven by the improvements in the country’s infrastructure and construction of new stadiums.
There is a strong sense of pride among Russians in the fact that they are hosting the tournament. 61 per cent state that they are proud that Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018. The tournament is also seen as an opportunity to portray Russia in a positive light and change long held perceptions. There is a belief held by 54 per cent of the population that hosting the tournament will improve the image of their country abroad.
Previous research shows that Russians have every reason to be optimistic about hosting the FIFA World Cup. The 2010 edition of the event delivered on the expectations of the South African people. Despite pre-event press reports doubting South Africa’s readiness to host the event, the South African people themselves were extremely confident that the host nation would be ready and that the competition would be a success, leaving a lasting legacy.
Independent research conducted for FIFA subsequent to the 2010 FIFA World Cup vindicated South Africa’s optimism. 83 per cent of South Africans say that they are benefitting and will continue to benefit in the long term from the country’s hosting of the event. Further, 94 per cent believe that the event improved the image of South Africa with foreigners and has as a result strengthened their tourism industry. It is also widely agreed (by 91 per cent of the population) that hosting the FIFA World Cup has had a long term impact on the country’s infrastructure such as roads, public transport and telecommunications.