As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off later this week in Brazil, Goldman Sachs has released a 67-page report featuring the unnatural mix of football and economics (it’s actually their fifth edition of such reports since the 1968 competition in Paris).
Amidst the probability models, interviews, country analysis, and trivia, The World Cup and Economics 2014 claims to show how world exports and World Cup expansion have roughly grown in tandem since the tournament’s inception in 1930 when only 13 teams participated.
During that 84 year period, world exports increased from around $30 billion to $22 trillion today.
“Although the decision on how many countries participate in the World Cup is made by FIFA’s governing bodies, the same market forces that are driving up exports are also likely to push for a larger representation of teams, especially as African and Asian nations increase their presence on the global stage,” write the analysts.
Another trend somewhat light-heartedly pointed to in the report, is that football World Cup winners also tend to be economic winners—at least for a period of years as they build footballing and growth momentum towards their victory.
For whatever it’s worth, according to the Goldman Sachs World Cup prediction model, Brazil is likely to win the 2014 tournament, perhaps even by significantly more than the bookmakers presently give it credit for. By contrast, the U.S. is given just a 40% chance of advancing from their group and remote 0.5% (250/1) odds of winning overall.