This year’s FIFA World Cup has arguably been one of the most unpredictable tournaments to date.
Prior to the start of the tournament, statistical models predicted that France had a 1 in 10 chance of winning the World Cup and only 4% of the public thought France would win. The public’s confidence in an England win stood at 3%, which is somewhat unsurprising given how much England’s chances were played down by the UK press and sports pundits.
The significant concern raised about fan safety and reservations around Russia hosting the World Cup also contributed to a less than optimistic outlook from fans in the UK and a lack of commitment to following the tournament. 23% of UK adults said they would decide spontaneously to watch the live matches, according to Statista.
England may not have made it to the final but their continued success on the pitch during the tournament created a feel good factor across the nation, extending beyond core football fans, with some incredible outcomes that defied pre-World Cup expectations:
- TV viewing figures grew significantly as England progressed, with a peak of 26.5 million people watching the England vs. Croatia match live on ITV.
- There were over 645,000 mentions of the World Cup in the last week of the tournament from over 60,000 unique users on Twitter, with engagement at 2.1 million.
- England’s semi-final match alone triggered an estimated £555 million of UK consumer spending on food, drink and memorabilia.
- High demand for England shirts led to many stores selling out, providing another boost to the UK economy.
- The World Cup song Three Lions made it to number 1 in the charts, 22 years after it was first released, making it the first song to top the charts on 4 separate occasions.
- The humble waistcoat also made a comeback, with participation in ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’ sweeping the nation and Marks & Spencer reporting a 35% increase in demand for waistcoats thanks to England manager Gareth Southgate.
Let’s hope England can match the success on the pitch as well as off in the next FIFA World Cup. Only another 4 years to wait…