Just how big is the World Cup?

The basic stats tell us 32 nations will converge on Germany for 64 matches in 24 cities during the month-long World Cup, starting on June 9. But scratch the surface and the first staggering fact you uncover is that 3.2 million people are expected to stream across Germanys borders to enjoy the worlds biggest sporting event. As a comparison, only a quarter of a million people visited Sydney during the 2000 Olympics.

Thats just the tip of the iceberg in terms of world-wide interest.

The global TV audience will be mind-boggling and certainly in excess of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, which was estimated at 28 billion.

Thats almost five times the worlds population at the time, meaning the average human on planet earth in 2002 watched five games.

During that single month of competition FIFA raked in $A1.53 billion in profit, another figure sure to be belittled by the coming juggernaut.

FIFA is even bigger and possibly more influential than the UN. Established in 1905, FIFA has 205 member nations, while the UN came into existence in 1945 and has 191 members.

Soccer is by far the most widely played sport on the planet and due to its simplicity and ability to be played by people of all ages and both sexes almost anywhere, it looks set to stay that way.

The estimated advertising revenue from the coming World Cup in Europe alone is $US1 billion.

These are figures other sports can only dream of and gives you some idea of just how big the coming celebration of football will be bigger than Christmas, bigger than the pilgrimage to Mecca, bigger than Ben Hur. Trust us, its big. No, like really big. Huge.

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