William & Mary Business Law Review


Governmental and private investigations have generated evidence of corruption in the bidding process to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which went to Qatar rather than the United States. One economic study has shown an increase in professional soccer attendance in European countries that host the World Cup and the European Championships. Accordingly, Major League Soccer and its investor-operators could pursue tort and unfair competition claims to argue that denial of a 2022 World Cup USA will result in lowered attendance, and thus lost profits and diminished business value. Key differences in American and European soccer leagues and sports markets might render the assumption that MLS would see a World Cup bump in attendance dubious, however, thus precluding a successful action for damages. The United States recently hosted the 2016 Copa America, a regional soccer tournament similar to the European Championship. An ordinary least squares regression analysis of MLS attendance data immediately before and after the Copa America reveals an increase in attendance correlated with the tournament, thus supporting application of the World Cup bump in a legal action for money damages related to the corrupted 2022 World Cup bid. This Article suggests the need for further research in economics about the impact of nations hosting major soccer tournaments and in evidence law about applying economic studies from one product, business, or market to another product, business, or market.