FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, has completed a raft of late broadcast deals for the Women’s World Cup (WWC) which got underway today (July 20).
After concluding several deals in Asia, FIFA announced that it has completed its final broadcast sales program for the tournament taking place in Australia and New Zealand.
Among the notable late free-to-air deals is an agreement in China with state broadcaster CCTV. NHK also secured a deal earlier this week in Japan.
Other rights sales have been concluded in Central Asia (Saran), Taiwan (ELTA), Hong Kong (PCCW), the Maldives (Medianet), Mongolia (Content Distribution LLC), and the Philippines (Cignal TV).
According to FIFA, the tournament will now be shown in over 200 territories, through 130 broadcasters and the organization’s own platform FIFA+ streaming platform in the remaining markets. At least 70 of the broadcasters will be present on the ground during the competition.
FIFA+, which launched last year, will show the entire competition live in territories such as Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand.
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For this year’s WWC, FIFA decided to sell the media rights on a standalone basis “in order to accelerate the commercial growth of the women’s game.” The governing body claims this resulted in enhanced revenues from a range of media partners new and old.
In an effort to “create additional value and reach younger audiences”, FIFA has also partnered with TikTok, its first-ever tie-up with a social media platform, for tailored social media content including behind-the-scenes moments.
Romy Gai, FIFA's chief business officer, said: "We are delighted to have completed these final sales, including two major markets, which will ensure the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 is one of the greatest sporting events ever and will be viewed in every corner of the world.
"We saw from the tournament in France in 2019 that women's football presented a huge opportunity, which is why we took the decision to sell the rights for 2023 on a standalone basis. That decision has now been fully justified.
"We are especially happy that the tournament will be widely available on free-to-air which gives us the chance to attract new audiences for women's football. The revenues from the Women's World Cup will be entirely reinvested in women's football, helping it to develop still further in the future.”
It was reported earlier this week that FIFA expects to secure around $100 million less in rights fees than it expected to in terms of overall WWC media rights sales.
The body is bringing in $200 million as opposed to $300 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
FIFA endured a difficult sales process, particularly in Europe as it struggled to agree on terms with broadcasters in key markets in the region.
European broadcasters in some cases offered such small sums – reportedly, some networks offered only 1% of the value of their bids to cover the 2022 men’s event – that FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino threatened to not sell the rights at all on the continent.
Eventually, deals were struck in the main five European markets – the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy – but these tie-ups are not bringing FIFA as much as was expected.
In terms of rights fees from deals struck after the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year, FIFA is reportedly set to bring in only $50 million of the $150 million it hoped to.
Over the last month, WWC rights agreements have been unveiled in territories including Portugal, Argentina, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Vietnam, and South Korea.
New Zealand defeated Norway 1-0 in the World Cup opener earlier today at Eden Park, while co-hosts Australia beat the Republic of Ireland by the same scoreline at Stadium Australia in front of a crowd of almost 78,000.
The tournament will run until August 20.
Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images