Cape Town: World Cup executive director Ali Bacher admitted at a press conference on Friday that administrators as well as cricketers were playing for high stakes at the forthcoming tournament, which has cost over $ 50 million to stage. "I must be honest about the financial situation - this is the biggest World Cup ever staged, and the expenditure will run into half-a-billion dollars)," former South Africa captain Bacher told national news agency SAPA.
However he added that the World Cup was predicted to make a net surplus of 300 million Rand ($ 33 million). At this year's tournament, a record 14 teams are taking part in 54 matches spread across 44 days. South Africa is staging the bulk of the fixtures, with six also scheduled for Zimbabwe and two in Kenya. According to Bacher's figures, the average daily cost of the tournament is 11.35 million Rand ($ 1.26 million) per day or $ 9.26 million per match).
Bacher said the expenditure was partly driven by stringent contractual obligations imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) including the provision of new media facilities. But he also said some of the money was being spent on the United Cricket Board of South Africa's "mini legacy" projects. These are designed to ensure the World Cup delivers enduring benefits such as the improvement of existing cricket facilities throughout South Africa. And Bacher insisted it would be money well spent.
"We estimate a net surplus of 300 million Rand ($ 33.33 million)," he said. Among those joining Bacher at the press conference was Cheryl Carolus, chief executive of South African Tourism. Carolus said the influx of tourists brought to South Africa by the World Cup allied to some 80,000 people travelling across the country to watch matches would have huge economic benefits.
"We expect up to 25,000 foreign tourists to the country, and they will be travelling to parts of the country not ordinarily visited by tourists," Carolus formerly the South African High Commissioner in London explained. She added, "South Africa's best asset is its people, and once tourists have received a warm African welcome, and good service, they will feel as if they've tasted a piece of forbidden fruit."