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December 4, 2022

World Cup Prize Money: Evolution over the last 40 years is astounding

With less than a month to go until the beginning of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the excitement and buzz that this major sporting competition provides is starting to increase with each passing day.

Indeed, while there will only be 32 nations competing in Qatar, the entire world will be watching on with huge interest, as the competition that takes place once every four years continues to provide the population with the best football the sport has to offer.

As those that follow the game know, though, there is a lot of money that can be won by the team that ends out being victorious of a competition that they participate in. The FIFA World Cup is just one of those that has a rather generous prize pot, too. This figure has also been able to expand significantly over the last 40 years, with the sums of money available having been of an astronomical sum.

FIFA World Cup prize money has rocketed over the last four decades

While this amazing competition have begun back in 1930, it has only been in the last four decades that we have seen the prize money continue to be generated rocketing to an extraordinary value with each event that is held.

According to the research gathered by Statista, the 1982 tournament that was held in Spain had a prize purse of $20 million; a substantial amount of money for any period of time. The 1986 competition in Mexico provided $26 million, before it started to climb at almost double the rate. The 2018 FIFA World Cup that was held in Russia, though, provided a prize purse worth $791 million, with France – as winners – taking home $38 million, whereas Croatia and Belgium managed to obtain $29 million and $24 million respectively for finishing second and third.


Check out the figures below:


  • 1982 (Spain) – $20 million
  • 1986 (Mexico) – $26 million
  • 1990 (Italy) – $54 million
  • 1994 (USA) – $71 million
  • 1998 (France) – $103 million
  • 2002 (Japan and South Korea) – $156.6 million
  • 2006 (Germany) – $282 million
  • 2010 (South Africa) – $420 million
  • 2014 (Brazil) – $576 million
  • 2018 (Russia) – $791 million

As can be seen, the money has continued to increase exponentially, therefore it perhaps comes as no real surprise that this year’s prize purse is thought to be worth more than what has been available in the past.

Who are the favorites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

Of course, each of the 32 teams will be motivated enough to compete and do well in the upcoming competition, however there are some that will be considered to be favorites to win the tournament more so than others.

According to the latest World Cup odds available, Brazil (5.00) and France (7.50) are considered to be the most likely to win, while Argentina and England are both ranked at 7.00. Indeed, with the squads and the talent that each of the four aforementioned countries can pick and choose from, it is hardly a surprise that they are favored.


So, what will the winners get? According to figures released, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winners will be in line to receive $42 million, while the runners-up will be able to obtain $30 million. This figure is also bumped up by the $1.5 million that is provided to each nation for participating, while a minimum of $10.5 million will be earned by each of the 32 teams competing in Qatar.

Will the prize money increase in the future?

For many, the answer to this question is obvious and that will be a resounding yes. However, there will be a number of different factors that can potentially be highlighted in regard to why this will be the case.

Of course, the most obvious reason will be due to the fact that sponsors will want to pay more than their competitors in order to get their brand name in front of hundreds of millions (if not a billion) of people from all corners of the globe.

However, it could also be argued that there will be a greater amount of prize money available for future editions of the FIFA World Cup because this year’s competition is the final one to feature 32 teams.

As of the 2026 tournament – which will be held across the USA, Mexico and Canada – we already know that there will be a total of 48 nations competing. The fact that there will be 16 more teams will instantly boost the amount of revenue, thus enhancing the overall prize purse that is available.

Final Thoughts

It is truly astounding to see how much the prize money has increased over the last four decades, although it perhaps does not come as big of a shock as many may have initially feared it might, given how much money is in the sport in today’s age. Indeed, it will not be long before the pot is worth $1 billion, and that could be sooner than we expect!

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