The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in November in Qatar. In this Facing Facts, Refinitiv Metals Research analyses the 18-carat gold trophy’s value in material terms, based on data available through Eikon.
According to FIFA, over 3.5 billion people watched the last World Cup, held in Russia in 2018. The final match between France and Croatia attracted over a billion viewers, making the trophy one of the most prestigious prizes in the sporting world.
This year’s competition began on 20 November, when host nation Qatar played Ecuador, and excitement is set to continue growing throughout the tournament. This World Cup is the first winter tournament and is being hosted for the first time in a Middle Eastern country.
The final match on 18 December will see the winning team lift the cup that is considered priceless by many. The FIFA World Cup trophy is made of 6.175 kg of 18-carat gold, which means it contains 4.93 kg of pure gold.
The gold and semi-precious malachite cup has an estimated value of over $20 million, but to mark the launch of the ‘Qatar World Cup 2022’ Eikon App, the Refinitiv Metals Research team has estimated its melted value back to the first time this particular cup was awarded in 1974.
At recent prices, the gold content of the trophy has a value of around $260,000, appreciating over 1,350% since its creation, when its value is estimated to have been around $18,500. Since the last tournament, its value has also increased by around $80,000, as gold prices have risen considerably over the period, due to the trade war between China and the United States in 2019 and uncertainty in 2020 caused by the pandemic. Although the gloomy economic environment this year has weighed on gold, price levels remain high compared with the period between 2012 and 2018.
THE FIFA WORLD CUP TROPHY IS MADE OF 6.175 KG OF 18-CARAT GOLD, WHICH MEANS IT CONTAINS 4.93 KG OF PURE GOLD.
While the Champions League is the most prestigious competition in European club football, its trophy in fact is worth less than the second-tier Europa League trophy. In fact, last year’s Champions League winners Real Madrid brought home the sterling silver trophy with a melt value $4,600 lower than the Europa League trophy.
The current iteration of “Ol’ Big Ears” or “La Orejona” (the nickname for the Champions League trophy) has been in use since 2006. At that time, the melt value was worth even less, at $2,785.
In contrast, the Europa League trophy is the heaviest of the UEFA trophies, weighing in at an impressive 15kg of sterling silver. However, silver price fluctuations have meant that in the last decade, the melt value of this cup has varied considerably. See the comparison below.
Silver price had a wild ride during the last two decades
If there is one word to describe silver’s price behaviour during the last two decades, surely ‘volatile’ must be shortlisted. For example, prices dropped by nearly 30% in only three months after touching an all-time high of around $48/oz in April 2011. This high gave the UEFA Europa League trophy a melt value of a whopping $21,000. Silver has had sharp price swings in both directions and, at the start of the pandemic, for example, prices increased 242% in just five months.
The gold and silver ratio shows recent sizeable fluctuations. After the silver price drop during mid-March 2020, the ratio peaked at 128 (meaning 128 ounces of silver equals one ounce of gold in price terms), surpassing the previous all-time-high of 99 at the beginning of the Second World War and the peak during the First Gulf War in 1991, when the value reached 91.
IF THERE IS ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE SILVER’S PRICE BEHAVIOUR DURING THE LAST TWO DECADES, SURELY ‘VOLATILE’ MUST BE SHORTLISTED.
American sports trophies
At 1.62m high and made from sterling silver, the Borg-Warner Trophy is the top prize for Indianapolis 500 car racing. It is made from 69 kg pure silver sterling, with a melt value of over $40,537. It is also one of the largest (and heaviest) across all sporting competitions.
The Woodlawn Vase, which is awarded to the winning owner of the Preakness stakes at Pimlico Racecourse, is made of solid sterling silver, weighs over 11 kg and has a melt value of over $10,633.
However, more internationally recognisable is the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is awarded to the NFL Super Bowl winners. Produced by Tiffany & Co., it uses 3.2 kg of solid sterling silver, equating to around $2,442 in value. This trophy is given outright to the Super Bowl’s winning team and reproduced every year.