FIFA and European broadcasters reach agreement to air Women's World Cup
The GIST: FIFA and European broadcasters have called a ceasefire. World soccer’s governing body struck a deal with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Wednesday, ensuring fans in Western Europe can watch next month’s Women’s World Cup (WWC) and ending talk of a regional blackout.
The details: Free-to-air (FTA) TV channels in the U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Ukraine were added to FIFA’s existing EBU agreement, but financial terms were not disclosed. The deal also includes digital and radio rights, as well as a commitment from the EBU to air at least one hour of women’s soccer content a week.
- It’s been a busy week for FIFA — the organization also scored a similar deal with 24 FTA broadcasters in the Pacific Islands. BFDs.
The context: Wednesday’s deal ends a long public dispute over rights fees. FIFA threatened a blackout and accused companies of devaluing the WWC after receiving lowball offers, while broadcasters argued the time difference between Europe and tournament co-hosts Australia and New Zealand should drive the price down.
- This year’s WWC rights were unbundled from the men’s tourney for the first time, leaving broadcasters uncertain about how to assign value, but FIFA recently calculated the WWC’s global rights at $300M.
Zooming out: The WWC will earn top-tier visibility in Europe through FTA coverage, which is good news even if FIFA couldn’t collect larger rights fees. It will no doubt try to increase the tourney’s value ahead of the 2027 edition, which begs the question: Will this soap opera impact the battle to host the next WWC?