Reconnecting fans with the beautiful game
But South Africa 2010 feels different. Thanks to the recession, combined with high hotel and travel prices, the multi-national giants, who traditionally send in huge numbers to big sporting events, have stayed away.
The banks and other financial companies, still anxious about being seen to be extravagant, have decided to keep a low profile here.
And, although South African companies have stepped in to fill the void, the firm responsible for selling corporate packages for this World Cup admits it has taken a hit.
So far Match Hospitality - Fifa's official ticketing, hospitality, travel and IT partner for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups - has have made £173m in revenue from corporate hospitality package sales.
But what is surprising here is the geographical split, with South African companies contributing £125m while the rest of the world a mere £48m.
Match Hospitality chief executive Jaime Byrom told me that the corporate hospitality element of their contract with Fifa was the only one which would make a loss. He added he was hopeful companies would still decide to take up packages once the tournament kicks off on Friday. Equally, he has the chance to recover any losses in Brazil in four years.
However, Byrom did acknowledge that the global economic slump had made it very hard to sell tickets to big companies and that Match should have started selling packages six months earlier.
To illustrate the point regarding foreign fans, the latest figures for overseas supporters heading to South Africa reveals a very unusual pattern for a World Cup.
The biggest group of fans are coming from the United States, which sounds unlikely at first, but isn't so surprising when you consider football supporters from all over the world live in the US and have American passports.
The UK, Germany, Australia, Mexico and Canada make up the rest of the top six. Only two European countries in the top six isn't what was expected.
Fortunately for Match and Fifa, South Africa is embracing this event enthusiastically.
And one of the beneficiaries of the disappointing overseas turnout is the ordinary South African, who has been given the chance to snap up tickets which were left unsold.
On Monday, 38,000 tickets - which were earmarked for hospitality lounges - went on sale labelled "beer and biltong" seats. For £130, fans can buy tickets to games which include snacks and drinks.
This is a lot of money for South Africans but there was no shortage of enthusiasm as queues snaked round the corner from ticket offices in Sandton and Soweto. For many people getting a ticket - any ticket - is all that matters.
Organisers may not have exactly planned it this way, but this World Cup may just help to reconnect the beautiful game with ordinary fans.