World Cup 2018 highlights global economic shift toward China

Franck Fife | AFP | Getty Images

Senegal’s goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye stops the ball after Poland’s forward Robert Lewandowski (rear C) shot a free kick during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Poland and Senegal at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 19, 2018.

As a Dutch Bulgarian living in Luxembourg, I thought the 2018 soccer World Cup would be a boring sports event. The three countries I identify with – the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg – played in the same qualification group. So statistically I was hopeful that at least one of them would make it through. But somehow, not one made it to Moscow. From that group, only France and Sweden qualified. My only comfort is that the three are in the good company of Italy.

I contemplated watching other sports events this summer, such as Wimbledon, where Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov is one of the favorites, or the Women’s World Cup Field Hockey, which the Dutch might win again. But then, you can’t ignore half of humanity: the World Cup is by far the world’s most-watched sports event, viewed last time by more than 3.2 billion people.

Then I found that watching the World Cup was also interesting from a financial point of view. Because the same global shifts in capital markets and in macroeconomics I am observing in my job are now becoming visible in how the sponsorship of this event is changing.