The World Cup and the Economy

Question for the readership:  has Thierry Henry provided a boost to the Irish economy, by ensuring that the Irish football team (and the travelling band of supporters) will not be in South Africa next summer?

51 replies on “The World Cup and the Economy”

Well…in any case the irish market is down today as might be expected given the findings in Edmans and Garcia Sports Sentiment and Stock Returns, JoFinance 2007. Mind you the weather isnt helping (Lucey and Dowling, JEconSurveys 2005)……

I really dont think so Philip, i think I read somewhere before about the effect World cup qualification had on the English economy when they last qualified was quite substantial, aside from the feelgood factor qualification creates……

@ Phillip

it’ll be a negative overall that we havent qualified. If we had, we’d all be down at the credit union this morning looking for a loan and checking out Harvey Norman’s latest deals on 70″ plasmas.

Not in the slightest. I have spoken to some very interesting economists in government who think that Irelands success in World Cup 90′ acted as a catalyst for Irelands economic recovery. It helped build confidence and a belief in the capacity to win and achieve. A collective psychological confidence. It changed the mood of the nation. It also put us on the map internationally. Look at the figures for tourism after 1990. The Italians came in their droves.

Who knows, going to South Africa in 2010 may have done the same. Completely unmeasurable but intuitively I think it would have had a huge psychological, feel good effect. Which in turn may have had a positive effect on the economic behaviour of consumers and business actors…….

But, France rather than Ireland going to the World Cup is probably better for the international economy. The revenue from 40 million consumer fans as opposed to 4 million is going to raise international output. No doubt this logic informed the decision of FIFA to change the rules of the game three quarters of the way through the competition. They will certainly benefit more.

So, I agree with Jane, we are stuck with more deflationary gloom…. ( :

There is no question that international success at sporting and cultural events would have been a huge spur to the economy. Have you noticed how the run of 4 successes in the Eurovision Song Contest coincided with the start of the Celtic Tiger? Clearly this was the dominating factor. Along with all the other dominating factors.

Agree with other comments about the psychological boost, the impact on retail sales at Harvey Normans and sports shops, Aer Lingus tickets and credit union loans or finally, an outlet for all that ‘precautionary saving’ the DOF says has been going on. But there again, during the last World Cup in which Ireland participated employers were never done complaining about hangover/euphoria induced absenteeism, loss of productivity and so on.

So whichever way it went, the whingers would have come out in force somewhere along the line. Meanwhile, it’s always possible we’ll win the Six Nations again – whatever else they do in that competition, our lads had better trounce the French!

Aidan R: “I have spoken to some very interesting economists in government who think that Irelands success in World Cup 90′ acted as a catalyst for Irelands economic recovery”

They sound like an interesting bunch alright!

We will lose out on a number of fronts:
1. Pubs will lose people for Ireland matches and for other matches as people would be more interested generally.
2. The Ireland silly hats and inflatable hands mountain will continue to increase in a warehouse somewhere on the docks.
3. Children will exercise less leading to obesity and health costs down the line.
4. People will go abroad to avoid the world cup on English speaking TV in Ireland.
5. People who can’t afford to go to SA won’t stay at home to Giles and Dunphy saying the players need to track back, its all about work ethic and Trapp should let them express themselves more.
6. The rugby elites (including the bankers) will think they are superior and will crash the economy on the rocks of their hubris once more.
7. Divisive issues in Irish society will not be overcome by alcohol sodden emotions and admissions during world cup unification.
8. We will lose the revenue from 15 books from soccer journalists (combined tax benefit of €5).

On the plus side, absenteeism during the world cup will be down!

Any truth to the rumour – repeated by Liam Brady and Robbie Keane – that FIFI wanted France in the finals because they would be a bigger draw than Ireland?

The effect on the Irish economy is the mirror image of the effect on the French economy, except that the latter is bigger. Therefore, FIFA should be encouraged to continue to stack the game in favour of big nations.

FIFA clearly saw “Long-Term Economic Value”, if you will, in having a depleted asset like France in the World Cup.

@Richard Tol

I suppose it’s indicative of something about economists that I can’t be sure you’re joking.

I think some of the predictions are a bit exaggerated. Its a myth invented by David McWilliams that Ireland’s success in Italia 90 triggered the Celtic Tiger boom. The Irish economy was allready growing faster than that of any other EU country between 1986 and 1990. More recently, the Irish economy grew by 12% in 1998, when we weren’t in the World Cup Finals. It also grew strongly in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2006 when again we missed out on the Euro and World Cup finals. The French economy didn’t exactly boom after they won the World Cup in 1998 or the Greek economy after they won Euro 2004. So, the link between success in sport and economic growth is greatly exaggerated.

More generally, I think that the fix last night will hasten the trend towards rugby becoming the number one international sport in Ireland. The GAA will remain number one, but it is not international. A poll a few weeks ago showed that soccer is now only 1% ahead of rugby in terms of the number following the sport in Ireland, a far cry from a few decades ago. Rugby is poised to overtake soccer in Ireland. It has a number of advantages. First, its 32-county based, not partitioned. Second, while the International Rugby Board is not perfect, it is not the band of crooks that FIFA is. Everything about the play-offs was rigged by Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini to ensure the correct result from their point of view.


Wht not make GAA international? Thierry Henry is an obvious first recruit given his newly revealed skills.

@John the Optimist

…And rugby is a far more entertaining game to watch anyway; sheer ,organised, no-holds-barred violence with none of this pussycat stuff of falling down and rolling on the ground at the slightest touch.

As will be the case with Henry, a quick survey of Dutch-language sites shows that that incident has been erased from history. Kieft’s 1988 goal against Ireland even ranks among the best ever.

English-language sites oddly disagree.

@Richard Tol

I appreciate that you have backed that up with some good quantitative research. My opinion may have been tainted by my emotional reaction at the time of the Kieft’s effort (which reaction stemmed as much from the bizarre “magic bullet” behaviour of the adidas ball, and the metaphysical implications thereof, as from the egregious off-side).

Henry’s reference in his interview to the pivotal role of the off-side Schillachi has only rubbed salt in our emotional wounds and has promoted last night’s incident to a Tier One sporting injustice. (I won’t hear talk of Robbie Keane’s four hand-balls during the match mind you.)

It was rumoured that Sepp Blatter would be involved in the new AIB management structure and that he had no problems with the cap on remuneration. Another outside candidate ruled out!

@Aidan R

Not in the slightest. I have spoken to some very interesting economists in government who think that Irelands success in World Cup 90′ acted as a catalyst for Irelands economic recovery.

It’s interesting how these myths develop – – the digerati call it viral marketing.

No wonder the country is banjaxed!

From a political point of view, world cup fever would deflect attention from politics which is good (for the government). The We Was Robbed hysteria will give them just a week’s breathing space….

To answer Philip’s question an indepth study required – pub takings vs quality of meat (source: our local butcher has long observed a crash in demand for sunday roasts as the native county progresses through the GAA championship)

Maybe some of the trade economists could explain to people how bad an option it would be to start a trade war with France. We would probably get away with it for a few weeks as the French would either not notice or would feel that we have some right. But from the top of the head, we export to France about twice what we import and eventually it would turn out badly. If there are any French companies who are subordinated bondholders in the banks however…..

Well, they do like our lamb though! Perhaps its not how much we export but how much they’d miss certain products. Baaa….

But we can still turn this to our advantage. Cowen’s having a word with Sarkozy. Maybe Sarko will lobby for Maire G-Q to get a good portfolio if we agree to drop the matter quietly…

We were all talking about Lenihan’s failed PR stroke yesterday. Between this and the flooding everyone has forgotten about the internal candidate,
let alone the sham fight over the salary cap.

@Frank Galton
You are right. I don’t know why FF are so angry as this is all just like NAMA. FIFA rigged things to benefit the richer & more important country. FF should be congratulating FIFA on the success of their NAMA.

Funny the way we accept cheats at the highest levels of our society. We suspend reality and strain credibility to believe the lies they tell us. Then Thierry Henry handles the ball twice and we vent our collective spleen.

Outrage, unbelievable, cheat! I wish we were like that when our leaders decided that they were going to blow 30bn in our collective names.

Give us a video ref in Irish public life. Once and you are sin binned three strikes and you are out! How many of the faces that populate the public arena would survive? We certainly would have a slimmed down dail.

Never mind the match. Lovely 2 Bed finished apartments in Newbridge down 66%. In the Dublin commuter belt where the oversupply is legendarily low (per NAMA backers)? This must be the national average for FINISHED property. If NAMA pays 50% of peak plus an LTEV – as its valuer intends – we will lose €43 Billion. NAMA will be trying to turn €31 Bn (less with development land) into €74 Bn. This proposal is insane.

Economists with conflicts of interest! There was chat about the Fed influence on economists and the economists generally pooh poohed the idea. I am not convinced!

I have said previously that the loss on Nama will be ~50,000,000,000 Euro. Quite a stimulus package for someone! What would be the commission on that? The taxpayer and her grandsons will be proud to pay it!

Meantime let us concentrate on the bread and circuses!

Does Colm McCathy agree that he overlooked the savings to be made from restricting FOI? Why not save more money and dispense with the trappings of democracy altogether?


The viewing figures released by RTE on Thursday evening for the match would suggest that egg chasing will remain of secondary or tertiary importance to vast swathes of the populace for some to come.

Although with obesity on the rise and a sedentary lifestyle affecting learning and concentration, the attraction of a sport where fatties lie on top of each other while the referee stands beside them reminding them of the rules every couple of seconds will surely increase.

@Sepp Blatter
“How do the conspiracy theorists explain Slovenia (population 2 million) eliminating Russia (population 140 million)?”

Wait until January – when Russia turns off the gas, a a quid pro ???? ! That will show you how inept FIFA is!

@Robert Browne
Funny the way we accept cheats at the highest levels of our society. We suspend reality and strain credibility to believe the lies they tell us. Then Thierry Henry handles the ball twice and we vent our collective spleen.

Matt Cooper in the Examiner today cries foul:
FIFA is happy to have a con artist like Henry in finals

Feed the red meat to the angy fans!

Wonder what the Irish would think if England had been the unfortunate ones?

It’s interesting that as sport as become a huge money-making enterprise for not only a small number of players but a related industry, how people feel it necessary to present themselves as a “regular type of guy” as Tony Blair might put it.

So Mervyn King supports X club and in the recent press release from the Central Bank, we were told that the new Head of Regulation is a Leeds United fan – – as if it should matter!

I think i have the answer, if international success at sports is a catalyst to the economy then we should hold the first ‘world champion hurling competition’, its good enough for the yanks to have the ‘world series’ in baseball – which nobody else plays (exception: a few misguided japanese folks whose teams are mostly ex-pat americans).

two advantages: first, we’re bound to win – boom – economic recovery.
second: henry can handle the ball all he wants and nobody will make a fuss.

@Michael Hennigan – the nightmare scenario for many fans – France v England in the WC Final….
@All – the power ? of networking. As of now there are over 200,000 fans on facebook of the group “Petition to have IRELAND Vs FRANCE REPLAYED!!!”
If only that level of outrage was harnessed for economic issues…oh well, off to torch the renault, fling the mach3 into the bin and so forth

@ Sepp

In regressions explaining international performance in football, it seems that one would have to include an effect for being an ex-Yugoslav country. Two of them in the World Cup and Bosnia not that far away. It’s the sporting graveyard of empires.

“A poll a few weeks ago showed that soccer is now only 1% ahead of rugby in terms of the number following the sport in Ireland, a far cry from a few decades ago. Rugby is poised to overtake soccer in Ireland.”

What are the bets Soccer would have rocketed up by double-digits had Ireland scored a second goal in Paris? Irish people’s favourite sport is generally the one we’re best at at any given moment – I’m sure it’s true for lots of countries, but definitely for ours.

On the subject of Italia ’90, I watched the movie version of The Van last night and it made me sad over the World Cup all over again 🙁

After witnessing first hand Dublin in ’94, I would expect that labour labour productivity will be significantly higher in Ireland over a few weeks next year than it would have been otherwise.

National income in 2010 will be higher.

@Brian Lucey
This was spotted by a contributor at
“Greece’s central bank asked domestic lenders to outline potential funding sources in coming months as the European Central Bank begins to tighten the liquidity it provides to Europe’s banking system, Euro2day reported”.

“In a letter to the institutions, the Athens-based central bank said Greek lenders as a whole had borrowed amounts that were proportionally greater than other countries in the 16- nation euro area, the Web site said, without saying where it got the information. Greek banks have borrowed a total of 42 billion euros ($63 billion) of the 570 billion euros the ECB has pumped into the system, according to Euro2day.

Granted this is unconfirmed. And Eoin will point to the statement below:

“The central bank hasn’t banned any bank from the operations and this recommendation isn’t linked to Greek government bonds that they hold or want to acquire, the bank said”.

But really, how likely is it that the ECB have devised a special Ireland only long-term funding deal because of our sheer loveability, and why does our charm not work on FIFA? I believe that if our economy is ruined they will keep us on life support. If it is merely stagnant we will get no special treatment. No assertion by the NAMA lobby should be believed, unless it is in writing and legally binding and irrevocable.

@Ronnie O’Toole

A very good point about internationalising the GAA. They could start with making it more popular among Northern Protestants (of whom, for my sins, I am one). It has made some inroads since the peace process, but it could do more.

Regarding Thierry Henry’s handling skills, am I correct in thinking the score would have been disallowed in both rugby and gaelic football? It woud have been a knock-on in rugby and a square ball in gaelic football.

As for Michael Hennigan, I’m sure that, if Finfacts had a sports section, they’d be reporting that Henry headed the ball, and that claims to the contrary were Fianna Fail propaganda.

Whether or not the World Cup would have boosted our economy, there is no basis for the commonly-held view that our success in the Charlton era caused the Celtic Tiger. Irish people have no idea where the Celtic Tiger came from or who killed it. In fact, until very recently they thought the property boom was the source of our economic success (confusing cause and effect).

Until we come to a shared understanding of the causes of our earlier success and the recent failure, we will never find a way forward because we will not have the political consensus to tackle our public finances.

The main story this morning on most tabloids is not the disastrous flooding in the south and west but the futile efforts to get a replay with France.

I despair if Irish people are waiting for football to get us out of the deep hole we have dug for ourselves.

@ E43bn

any particular reason you post a link about Greek banks on a thread titled “The World Cup and the Economy”. Or are you completly incapable of discussing any particular topic without bringing it back to NAMA? It’s getting boring. Its bordering on derangement.

@Eoin 10 BILLION is fine
My post was not about NAMA. I said, “But really, how likely is it that the ECB have devised a special Ireland only long-term funding deal because of our sheer loveability, and why does our charm not work on FIFA?”
So the point I was making is that faith in the ECB is as misplaced as faith in FIFA. We are small, uninfluential members of both.

All right it was about NAMA. Pretending otherwise would be:
1. As deranged as gambling that property has fallen by 50% and will fall no further. In fact from their supposed value of €47 Billion these loans are projected by the business plan to generate €74 Billion in interest and repayments.

2. It would be as deranged as believing Brian Lenihan is not working hand in glove with the banks.

Both of them believe that Irish property would have had a soft landing if it wasn’t for Lehman’s collapse. Why should he clear them out? He believes that the government, developers and bankers were all victims of outrageous foreign misfortune. Politicians are a key part of this triangle. FF/PDs are the political wing of the banker/developer complex. Lenihan is being wrongly depicted as the slave of the banks when really he is their partner and leader. Expect a token gesture to show he is in charge (which he always has been) in the near future.

Finally, remember the correct standard of proof for the NAMA lobby:
No assertion by the NAMA lobby should be believed unless it is in writing, legally binding, irrevocable and available for inspection.
No commitment by the NAMA lobby should be believed unless it is legislated for, implemented and is being policed by an independent expert of huge experience and unimpeachable integrity.

@ E43bn

changing your name repeatedly, posting on threads that have nothing to do with NAMA, posting the same comment on multiple threads. NAMA is slowly starting to eat away at your brain. Seek help.

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