FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, will sell its media rights directly in the Asian market for the first time under a new strategy but has retained the Infront agency as an advisor in selected territories.

Following the conclusion of the 2019-2022 World Cup sales cycle, in which Switzerland-based Infront sold media rights for FIFA in 26 Asian countries, the organization will negotiate deals in-house to “closer manage its broadcast relationships.”

The approach forms part of FIFA's strategy to “forge innovative and sustainable media partnerships in the region," with the soccer body having engaged Infront as an advisor “to ensure a smooth transition into the new sales structure.”

In its new advisory role, the international sports marketing agency will advise on media rights for the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Women’s World Cup across various territories in Asia.

These markets are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

FIFA has historically appointed agencies – predominantly Infront – for selling media rights in the Asia-Pacific region, except for South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia where it has managed sales directly.

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Romy Gai, FIFA's chief business officer, has said: “The Asian market is a highly specific and strategically important region for FIFA and the new approach demonstrates our commitment to fully controlling our media rights sales processes.

“Our efforts will be complemented by our long-term partner Infront who will draw on its experience and track record in the region to support our go-to-market approach in selected key markets.”

Andreas Kaeshammer, head of football at Infront, added: “After being involved in the distribution of FIFA’s media rights for more than two decades this new media advisory service role combines our global football rightsholder capabilities with our media sales experience in Asia.

“We’re excited to help deliver FIFA's events to an audience of over 2.5 billion people, underscoring the immense reach and impact of these tournaments in the Asian market.”

Infront was recently hired by Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 to sell international media rights for those soccer leagues.

The company is managing the media rights portfolio of the Bundesliga across 10 European territories, and in several global markets across Europe, Asia, and Oceania for Ligue 1.

Infront is also working alongside Italy’s Serie A in 36 markets across the Asia-Pacific region to distribute its broadcast rights for 2024-25 onwards.

FIFA, meanwhile, launched the tender process for worldwide in-ship and in-flight media rights to its 2026 and 2027 World Cups earlier this week.