Impact of FIFA World Cup 2022 on the App Stores

Ian Pernia by
Senior ASO Expert

9 min read

2022 marked the return of the FIFA World Cup after another four-year rotation! Audiences across the globe had their eyes fixed on Qatar where the world’s biggest sporting tournament took place. From the Cinderella run of Morocco to the dominance of global superstars like Messi and Mbappe, and ultimately Argentina being crowned the champion of FIFA 2022, the impact of this year’s World Cup can be felt around the world.

One would have to look no further than the App Store and Google Play to find the far-reaching impact of this year’s tournament. In this blog, we will look at the increase in downloads and category ranks for FIFA related apps, increased search volume for football and/or soccer related keywords, and different events that appeared across both the app stores in the countries that played a major role in this year’s World Cup.


Downloads & category ranks for FIFA related apps & games

One of the more evident cases of the impact of the World Cup 2022 on the app stores can be seen in the increased downloads and category rank for FIFA-related apps, in particular FIFA+ and FIFA Mobile. FIFA+ is the official app of the World Cup where users can find stats, watch highlights, and follow their favorite teams through the tournament. FIFA Mobile is the officially licensed FIFA mobile game by EA SPORTS, where players can build a team and control their favorite players.

Since the beginning of the tournament, both FIFA+ and FIFA Mobile have seen a significant increase in popularity and have risen to the top of their respective categories. The following graphs show the category ranking history for both apps in the countries that reached the quarterfinals as well as for the US and the host country Qatar.

FIFA+ rankings in the Sports category on iOS
FIFA+ rankings in the Sports category on iOS.
FIFA+ rankings in the Sports category on Google Play
FIFA+ rankings in the Sports category on Google Play.
FIFA Mobile Google Play ranking
FIFA Mobile rankings in the Games category on Google Play.
FIFA Mobile rankings in the Games category on iOS
FIFA Mobile rankings in the Games category on iOS.

These official FIFA apps were not the only apps to receive a boost from the World Cup. In fact, many of the top soccer and/or football games also saw significant increases in downloads in the same counties since the weeks leading up to the tournament.

Download estimates for top football related games
Download estimates for top soccer/football related games.

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Increased search volume for “football” and/or “soccer”

Along with the increase in downloads for soccer and football related apps, the World Cup also resulted in an increase in search volume for “soccer,” “football,” and “fifa” related keywords across the globe.

When looking at the countries (Argentina and France) that made it to the finals, we see significant increases in search volume comparing before and after the start of the tournament.

Search volume for World Cup and football related terms in France
Increase in search volume for World Cup and football related terms in France.
Search volume for World Cup and football related terms in Argentina
Increase in search volume for World Cup and football related terms in Argentina.

We saw even more significant increases in the search volume for football related keywords in the US after the US men’s national soccer team qualified and moved on to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2014.

Search volume for football related keywords in the US
Increases in the search volume for football related keywords in the US.

FIFA World Cup 2022 related events

This increase in downloads for football apps and games and search volume for keywords only happens once every four years. So many apps and games did their best to capitalize on this golden opportunity. One of the ways they did it was through the recently released features in both the app stores: in-app events on iOS and promotional content on Google Play

In-app events and promotional content are limited-time events within apps and games and are great for promoting new, relevant, and exciting content to users, making them great avenues for promoting World Cup related content.

One of the more obvious use cases of World Cup related events is streaming apps promoting the fact that users can watch the tournament on their app, as seen with apps like FOX Sports, fuboTV, and Peacock TV.

In app events for FOX Sports
In-app events for FOX Sports.
In app events for fuboTV
In-app events for fuboTV.
In app events for Peacock TV
In-app events for Peacock TV.

Soccer and football games also used this opportunity to leverage the World Cup in events as well. While obtaining the license to the official FIFA World Cup brand may be difficult for most games, this did not discourage them from running World Cup related content within their game. In fact, many of these games ran events alluding to the World Cup without explicitly using the trademarked term, instead using phrases such as “Football Festival,” “Soccer Cup,” “Qatar Season,” etc.

In-app events for eFootball 2023
In-app events for eFootball™ 2023.
In app events for Play Football 2022
In-app events for Play Football 2022.
In app events for Soccer Super Star
In-app events for Soccer Super Star.
In app events for Football Strike
In-app events for Football Strike.

Another interesting case of the World Cup’s impact can be found in non-soccer or football related games. Some of the most popular games have released events promoting collaborations with FIFA and the tournament’s biggest stars.

In app events for Call of Duty Mobile
In-app events for Call of Duty Mobile.
In app events for PUBG MOBILE
In-app events for PUBG MOBILE.
In app events for Dragon Tail
In-app events for Dragon Tail.
In app events for New State Mobile
In-app events for New State Mobile.

Conclusion

This edition of the FIFA World Cup produced countless moments that fans will remember for years to come. Once again, congratulations to Argentina and their fans for an amazing run. No doubt, the impact of this year’s tournament on the app stores has been really profound and that laid the foundation for apps and games to take advantage of this once-every-four years opportunity. The app stores have changed quite a bit since the last World Cup in 2018, and we look forward to seeing what new and exciting things developers and ASO practitioners have in store for the next World Cup in 2026!

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Ian Pernia
by , Senior ASO Expert
Ian is an ASO Expert at AppTweak helping apps improve their store presence. He is passionate about movies, traveling, and spending time with his dog.