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World Cup 2018: In football, big names are big business

Some of football's biggest stars are so valuable their contract clauses equal - or swell past - the largest year-to-date businesses transactions in their teams' countries.

Who says football is just a game?

As the FIFA World Cup 2018 gets underway in Russia, the Deals Intelligence team at Thomson Reuters took a look just how valuable some of this summer’s superstar players have become when compared to traditional mergers & acquisitions (M&A) in their home nations, and also rivals in the World Cup.

  • The combined announced M&A activity for 2018 so far of Senegal, Tunisia. Panama, Uruguay, Iran, Croatia, Costa Rica and Iceland (US$973.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence data) wouldn’t be enough to afford the reported 1 billion euro (US$1.2 billion) buyout clause that Real Madrid has in place for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • The total value of all squads at this summer’s tournament is £9.1 billion (US$12.1 billion), which exceeds the M&A activity so far in 2018 of 19 of the 32 countries taking part in the World Cup.
  • The reported buyout clause for Barcelona striker Luis Suarez of 200 million euros (US$234 million) is more than 10 times the value of his native Uruguay’s M&A activity so far in 2018, which stands at US$15 million.
  • Similarly, the reported buyout clause of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, set at 500m euros (US$586m), is significantly higher than the US$193.3 million value of his native Croatia’s M&A activity so far this year.

There are also some match-ups during the group phase of the World Cup which make for interesting reading when based on M&A activity in certain countries compared to the value of individual players they’re facing:

Argentina v. Croatia – June 21

  • Overall Croatian M&A activity so far in 2018:US$193.3 million
  • Buyout clause of Argentina’s Lionel Messi: Reportedly 700 million euros ($821 million)

Brazil v. Costa Rica – June 22

  • Overall Costa Rican M&A activity so far in 2018: $US284 million
  • Buyout clause of Brazilian footballer Philippe Coutinho: Reportedly 400 million euros (US$469 million)

England v. Panama – June 24

  • Overall M&A activity involving Panama so far in 2018: US$3.2 million
  • Transfer value of England’s John Stones (Everton to Manchester City): Reportedly £47.5 million (US$64 million)

Portugal v. Iran – June 25

  • Overall Iranian M&A activity in 2018: US$21.2 million
  • Buyout clause of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo: Reportedly 1 billion euros (US $1.2 billion)

The M&A value data for the nations is from the Deals Intelligence team at Thomson Reuters. However, the transfer/buyout values of the football players mentioned are reported values and not those of Thomson Reuters. Additionally, the FX rate used to calculate the U.S. dollar value of the transfer/buyout values was calculated  May 24, 2018.

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Explore Thomson Reuters Eikon and the rest of Answers On’s World Cup coverage.

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