The 22nd FIFA World Cup will be held in the Arabian Peninsula nation of Qatar from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. It is the first time in the 92-year-old history of the World Cup that a Middle Eastern country has hosted the event.
Qatar, which has never qualified for soccer’s premier event, will field a team since it is the host country. That will help boost attendance at the nearly month-long event, which might break World Cup attendance records. The nation of 3 million people is expected to host as many as 1.5 million visitors for the matches. (These are the best men’s national soccer teams of 2022.)
To compile a list of the World Cups with the most fans, based on the highest average attendance per game, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report by the consumer data site Statista. Information on winners and runners-up came from FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.
Because Qatar does not have a strong soccer tradition, much of the infrastructure – stadiums, hotels, roads – had to be built from the ground up for the World Cup. The price tag is estimated to be $200 billion. (Qatar has the dubious honor of being the country that’s the worst polluter in the world.)
Qatar constructed seven stadiums and renovated another. All eight stadiums will be cooled using solar power. Each of the facilities has seating capacity of more than 40,000. The largest, Lusail Stadium, has 80,000 capacity.
Mass transit will play an important part in getting spectators to the sports venues. The Doha Metro, which connects to all venues for the World Cup, may carry around 1 million people during the event. The eight stadiums are within a 35-mile radius of the capital city, Doha.
Despite the fact that Americans have still not embraced soccer to the extent that most other nations have, the World Cup held in the United States in 1994 holds the record for both total attendance (3,568,567) and average attendance per game (68,626). Soccer-mad Brazil has hosted the World Cup twice. The South American country had the event’s second-highest total attendance in 2014 (3,441,450) and was second in average attendance per game in 1950 (60,773).
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