If you've been anywhere near a television, newspaper or online news site, you've probably found it impossible to escape the World Cup recently. Suddenly, everyone seems to be a fan of football (or soccer, as we Americans call it). Let's review some interesting facts about this globally popular event.
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By the Numbers
- 1904: The year the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was created in Paris. It consisted of seven nations.
- 1930: First World Cup event is held in Uruguay.
- July 11, 2010: Day this year's final match will be held to determine the 2010 World Cup champions.
- $1 billion: Estimated total amount spent by this year's World Cup sponsors, according to Reuters.
- 0.5 meters: Length of the vuvuzela, the colorful - and noisy - plastic horns that have quickly become a staple of the South African games.
- 6: Number of stadiums at this year's World Cup that will have specially designated seats equipped with headphones through which trained commentators will report on the action for blind and visually impaired spectators.
- 3: Number of times France has faced the host nation in World Cups, only to lose each time, including England in 1966 and Argentina in 1978.
- 32: Number of teams participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- $6 billion: Estimated amount spent by the South African government to build the infrastructure required to host this year's tournament.
- 8: Number of men who have served as president of FIFA since the organization's creation in 1904.
- 64: Number of cumulative total matches won by Brazil at their 18 appearances in World Cup games, making that country the top all-time World Cup winner.
- 1: Brand of credit card accepted at this year's games (Visa, which is a sponsor).
- 1970: Year the yellow and red card system is introduced at the World Cup.
- 2m x 1.5m: Maximum size of banners or flags fans can bring into this year's World Cup stadiums.
- May 26, 2010: Day the first competing team (Australia) arrived in South Africa for this year's World Cup.
- 11: Number of colors featured on the competition's official ball, the Adidas Jabulani (which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu, one of the most commonly spoken languages in South Africa).
- 86 million: Number of page views logged at Fox Soccer Channel's website, Foxsoccer,com, over the first five days of the tournament. This is an increase of 28% compared to the 2006 World Cup.
- 6.5 million: Number of World Cup replica jerseys sold by Adidas, more than double the number sold in 2006. This year's figures include sales of more than 1 million jerseys each for the German, Mexican, Argentinean and South African teams.
- 7,905%: Spike in online searches for the term "vuvuzela horn" since the World Cup began, according to Yahoo!
- 3 million: Total number of tickets sold for this year's tournament, according to Robert Tuchman, president of Premiere Global Sports and writer for ESPN.com.
- 3: Number of official Twitter accounts launched by FIFA for this year's games
The Bottom Line
This year's competition has had some controversial moments, and many fans have already suffered the dejection of seeing their favorite team eliminated from the competition. But while there can only be one official World Cup champion, it seems there's no shortage of winners - and spenders - when it comes to World Cup revenues. Perhaps because of that, several nations are already battling it out to earn the right to host the 2022 World Cup tournament. (For more on the World Cup, check out: Blowing The Own Horn: Will The World Cup Lure Investment Capital To South Africa?)
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