The head of football’s international governing body, FIFA, has threatened a blackout of this year’s Women’s World Cup after receiving broadcast offers he believes would “undersell” the competition.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino made the remarks during a panel discussion at the World Trade Organisation this week.
Infantino referenced broadcasters in five major European markets he believed weren’t offering a fair price. He said a potential blackout would be a “real pity”.
Why’s it happening?
The Women’s World Cup will be held from July to August in Australia and New Zealand. It’s the first in the Southern Hemisphere and the third outside of Europe or North America.
Most games will be played in the evenings. This means they’d be played in the mornings in the Northern Hemisphere and also out of ‘prime-time’ broadcasting hours.
Infantino said time zone differences could be a reason for lower TV offers. He added that many games will still be at a “reasonable time”, such as 9am or 10am.
The TV offers
Infantino specifically mentioned broadcasters in the ‘Big Five’ European markets – the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain – as providing offers that were “disappointing and simply not acceptable”.
He said some broadcasters were only offering up to $AU15 million to show the Women’s World Cup, while paying between $AU150-300 million for the Men’s competition.
Infantino said the offers for the Women’s World Cup were disproportionate, as the Women’s tournament accrues 50-60% of the viewers gained in the Men’s World Cup.
Who’s at threat of FIFA’s blackout?
Channel 7 and Optus Sport have already been confirmed as the official Australian broadcasters for the Women’s World Cup. New Zealand has also finalised their broadcasting arrangements for the World Cup.
The countries at risk of a blackout are those yet to lock in deals with FIFA to broadcast the tournament.