Qatar’s World Cup will cost $220bn – What does that mean?

Qatar has a little more than a decade to prepare for the World Cup in 2022. That’s 10 years to build new (air-conditioned) stadia, a public transportation system and even an entire city to hold the players and fans who will turn out for the games.

By some estimates, the Cup is going to cost Qatar some $220 billion. That’s an astounding figure, about 60 times the $3.5 billion that South Africa spent on the World Cup last year. But what does that number mean?

ESPN offers a list of five things that are equal to $220 billion, give or take a billion. Here are some of them:

  • The total of all of the home loans in the United Kingdom. Every single one. Sure the market is down, and home prices have fallen everywhere, but that’s still insane. Qatar’s World Cup is going to amount to the same value as every mortgaged home in a nation of 60 million people.
  • The mobile computer industry. Sales in 2011 for mobile computers – which includes tablets – is expected to come in around $220 billion. Qatar’s World Cup spending could buy every laptop, iPad, PC tablet, and netbook sold in the world this year.
  • Bees. According to a study released in 2008, bees are worth $220 billion a year to agriculture. All of agriculture. In the world. By performing a natural function they’ve been doing for millions of years, bees are contributing to the world’s economy the same amount as it costs to put on one soccer tournament in the desert.

Read the full list here.

And tell us what you think! What does $220 billion mean to you?

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