FIFA deal ends threat of European WWC blackout

The Women’s World Cup will be broadcast in Britain, Spain, France, Germany and Italy after governing body FIFA extended its agreement with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), ending the threat of a blackout in Europe’s top soccer nations.

The rights for this year’s tournament are being sold separately from the men’s World Cup for the first time and FIFA President Gianni Infantino said last month that the five countries would face a blackout unless “unacceptable” bids were improved.

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In October 2022, FIFA and the EBU, which represents the continent’s national media organisations, had announced an initial deal confirming that the World Cup would be broadcast free-to-air across 28 European territories.

That agreement has now been extended to cover the five countries, as well as Ukraine.

“FIFA is delighted to widen the deal with the European Broadcasting Union for the transmission of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup … thus ensuring maximum exposure for the tournament,” Infantino said in a statement.

“As part of this agreement, the EBU has committed to working towards broadcasting at least one hour of weekly content dedicated to women’s football on its own digital platform and broadcaster network.

“This will provide a huge promotional and exposure opportunity for women’s football, which is a top priority for us in line with FIFA’s commitment to the long-term development of the sport.”

The tournament will be broadcast by ITV and BBC in Britain, ARD and ZDF in Germany, France Televisions, RAI (Italy) and RTVE (Spain). Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Around 1.12 billion viewers tuned into the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France across all platforms, FIFA said.

Infantino had said broadcasters initially offered only $1 million-$10 million for the rights for this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand, compared to $100 million-$200 million for the men’s World Cup.

The ninth Women’s World Cup kicks off in Sydney and Auckland on July 20.

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