Working money: How World Cup investment will pay off

Working money: How World Cup investment will pay off
Photo by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee
Half of the cost of the Luzhniki Stadium project was paid off in a single month.

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 4.47 million fans visited Moscow: some only in transit, but most stayed for several days, with 3.08 million fans filling almost all Moscow hotels. The hotels had a 90 percent occupancy rate during the World Cup.

Moscow streets became a place of endless fun. Fans celebrated when their team and other teams won, waved flags and sang in all languages known. The 2018 World Cup has become the best ever. Not only footballers and tourists but also FIFA officials acknowledge this.

The World Cup is more than just a celebration of football, it’s also a good investment project. The championship left Moscow with world-class stadiums, training camps and upgraded transport.

Luzhniki after the World Cup: 5 million tourists a year

During the month the World Cup was held, fans left the city budget 14.8 billion roubles, which is over half of the Luzhniki Stadium reconstruction costs. After the World Cup, the arena will host football matches and sports competitions at world levels. Spectators in the stands no longer have to contend with blind spots in the stadium after the reconstruction. There are more exits so the stadium can be emptied in 15 minutes. In addition, there is a one-kilometre-long observation platform at Luzhniki, and a sports park on Luzhnetskaya Embankment.

The reconstruction of Luzhniki was a large project that turned the historical stadium into a world-class multipurpose football arena. According to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Luzhniki would have been renovated without the World Cup, but the World Cup determined the scale and the timing.

The stadium will pay off the other 50 percent of the investment with concerts, festivals and public shows. It is expected that 5 million tourists will visit Luzhniki each year. The high-quality training bases at Luzhniki and Spartak Stadium will be given to Moscow sports schools.

After the World Cup, the stadiums are very popular with Muscovites. The first match after the championship, Spartak vs Orenburg, was attended by 36,672 spectators. Aside from the guest sectors, that have 4,500 seats according to the requirements, Spartak Stadium was almost completely full. Muscovites weren’t worried about their rival’s status (Orenburg is new to the Premiere League) or the pouring rain just before the game.  

More metro carriages and a new airport

Before the World Cup, Moscow invested in transport: underground, surface and aviation. The Moscow Metro has new carriages, and the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) has new trains. There also are more buses and trams on Moscow streets. A new metro station, Spartak, was opened near the new stadium in Tushino, and Sportivnaya Station now has an upgraded entrance hall. Nevertheless, the city was not building up its transport systems just for the championship. The MCC, Spartak metro station, renovation of Volokolamskoye Motorway and other projects were part of the Moscow transport system development project. They would have been implemented regardless of the World Cup.

Moscow has also upgraded its airports to make them more convenient for fans. Modern new bi-level Aeroexpress trains run to and from the airports. A crossing between the northern and southern Sheremetyevo terminals was built, as well as a new passenger terminal. A large high-quality hotel was built at Vnukovo. Moscow also gained another airport: Zhukovsky.

World Cup of peace: Bright Nikolskaya Street and souvenir lamps

Nikolskaya Street was the main centre of attraction for fans. Tourists liked the beautiful pedestrian street in the city centre. There were no serious accidents despite the fact that the celebration continued for a month straight; maybe just a few broken benches and lamps that fans took from the garlands as souvenirs. But the city quickly replaced them by the next day. Nikolskaya Street remains a busy and festive Moscow street even after the World Cup.