World Cup fever hits high note

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretoria - With just under 134 days to go until kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, public opinion towards the spectacle remains overwhelming positive in South Africa.

This according to the latest market research conducted on FIFA's behalf.

The findings from the fourth instalment of a six-wave survey suggest a strong emotional commitment to the tournament, in particular a pronounced sense of pride (90 percent) in being the first African nation to host football's premier event.

Surveying was conducted by international research company SPORT+MARKT immediately after the Final Draw in December, and the successful organisation of this event and the ensuing blanket coverage in the media appear to have reinforced respondents' belief in South Africa's readiness to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup (84 percent) and their keen anticipation of it (86 percent).

Similar to the previous three waves, the vast majority of respondents have high expectations in terms of the potential long-term benefits of hosting the FIFA World Cup, both tangible and intangible.

79 percent believe, the international tournament will unite the people of South Africa, 88 percent view it as a boost for South Africa's image abroad, while 91 percent expect it to create more jobs and 95 percent think it will strengthen the tourism sector.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said: "What these findings tell us right from the first round of surveying in December 2008 all the way through to today is that there is a strong feeling of positivity towards the FIFA World Cup among South Africans.

"The scores have been consistently high with negligible deviation over the months."

Of the perceived potential disadvantages of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, inflation remains the biggest concern for South African respondents, with 70 percent believing consumer goods will become more expensive as a result of the competition.

However, the 7 percent point drop in the score since the previous wave in September 2009 represents the biggest fluctuation recorded in the survey and is a welcome development.