Fifa goes direct to broadcasters in Greece with new tender
Broadcasters in Greece must submit offers next month for rights to the 2018 World Cup after a new invitation to tender was issued by Fifa, soccer’s world body.
The tender covers TV, internet, mobile and radio rights and, following a question-and-answer period running to 18 July, broadcasters must lodge offers with Fifa by 11am (CET) on 19 July before negotiations then commence with the Zurich-based federation.
Fifa will be looking to end a lengthy search for a Greek broadcaster for next year's showpiece tournament in Russia, having initially appointed the TAF Sports Marketing agency to sell the rights to both that tournament and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
ERT, the Greek public-service broadcaster, held the rights in Greece to the 2014 World Cup as part of Fifa's agreement with the European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of mainly public-service broadcasters.
However, as it turned out, the tournament was shown in Greece by NERIT, the short-lived public broadcaster set up to replace ERT after it was abolished at the government’s behest amid financial pressures.
ERT, which came back on the air in June 2015, was excluded from the EBU’s subsequent 37-territory agreement for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and Fifa went on to appoint TAF in a deal announced in early 2013.
ERT is though to have agreed to pay close to €14 million ($16 million) for its package of Fifa rights from 2011 to 2014.
At the start of the year, TAF went to market with the rights via a tender process in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to secure a Greek broadcaster for next year’s tournament, a competition that Greece remain in the mix to qualify for, currently sitting second behind Belgium in Group H.
In a change of policy at Fifa amid a commercial overhaul at the federation, it was decided in April to take back the rights in Greece and sell directly to broadcasters, a decision not thought to be linked to any particular issues with TAF but in line with a broader change in approach in the distribution of rights.
Fifa said today that it is looking to “secure the required transmission commitments and to achieve Fifa’s objectives of reaching the widest possible audience and providing a high-quality viewing experience for fans.”
ERT is expected to face competition from Skai, the commercial broadcaster, for the World Cup rights, but enticing pay-TV interest from the likes of Cosmote and Nova may prove more difficult given the limited impact on subscriptions of a 32-day tournament.
The launch of the tender means that rights to both the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Uefa European Championships are on offer at the same time in Greece.
The CAA Eleven agency has asked Greek broadcasters to deliver their bids for Euro 2020, along with the qualifying matches for that tournament and the 2022 Fifa World Cup, plus the Uefa Nations League, by next week.
Media companies wishing to participate in Fifa’s ITT can request the necessary documents by emailing the federation (email@example.com) and including details of the names and titles of those who will interact with Fifa in the process.