FIFA has fallen roughly $100 million (£76 million/€89 million) short of its goal for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand broadcast rights fees.
The game’s international ruling body aimed to sign deals valuing the quadrennial event’s global broadcasting rights at $300 million (£229 million/€267 million), but it will instead settle for closer to $200 million (£152million/€178million), the Wall Street Journal reports.
FIFA is on track to bring in about $50 million (£38 million/€44 million) in new broadcast rights sales since last year’s men’s World Cup, which is about a third of the $150 million (£115 million/€133 million) new fees it hoped to secure.
This year’s Women’s World Cup is the first in which FIFA separately sold broadcast rights to the tournament, a break from the past in which the rights were essentially given for free to broadcasters who bought rights to the men’s tournament.
In May, FIFA President Gianni Infantino branded rights offers from the five leading European nations to broadcast the event as “a slap in the face for women worldwide” and warned that they could face a television blackout unless offers were improved.
“The viewing figures of the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 50-60 per cent of the men’s FIFA World Cup, yet the broadcasters’ offers in the ‘Big 5’ European countries for the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 20 to 100 times lower than for the men’s FIFA World Cup,” he added.
But last month a deal was done which added the Big Five – and Ukraine – to the European Broadcasting Union arrangement to broadcast the World Cup free-to-air in a number of other European countries.
But the level of the European arrangement was reflected by the joint deal with BBC and ITV for the rights, which is reportedly worth around £9 million (£11.5 million/€10.5 million) which is just eight per cent of the cost of televising the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
In the United States, however, Fox has recorded strong ad sales for its upcoming Women’s World Cup coverage, selling out 90 per cent of its inventory by June and 50 per cent more than the 2019 tournament.
Fox Sports chief executive Eric Shanks told Front Office Sports that the suboptimal time difference is why FIFA placed the United States team in New Zealand instead of Australia.
“I think that’s a big reason why FIFA realised that it’s probably better for the US national team to be based in New Zealand,” Shanks said.
“One of the reasons probably is that time zone’s much more friendly to the U.S.
“So we’ll have the early games while they’re in New Zealand starting at like 9pm Eastern.
“And then it kinda gets a little bit all over the place; they’re either gonna be primetime games or fairly earlier in the morning.”