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FIFA Nears Women’s World Cup Media Deals That Would Ease Blackout Threat

  • Deals would improve upon initial offers blasted by Infantino.
  • Fox Sports reports robust ad sales for domestic coverage.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
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FIFA is close to securing U.K. media rights deals with the BBC and ITV for the upcoming Women’s World Cup — a move that would ease prior threats of a tournament blackout in key European markets.

The agreements, according to Bloomberg, would see the broadcasters pay an estimated $9 million to $10 million to air the upcoming event, a figure totaling at most 6% of the comparable figure paid for the men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino previously called initial rights bids for the tournament — some as low as 1% to 2% of bids for the men’s World Cup —  “a slap in the face” given the ongoing growth in the women’s game. Those offers also presented a risk to FIFA goals for gender pay equity.

Infantino initially threatened a broadcasting blackout for the European “Big Five” of England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France. It is hoped, however, that the BBC and ITV deals could help lead to similar agreements with other broadcasters on the continent.

A Hot Property

Fox Sports has already sold 90% of its ad inventory for U.S. coverage of the Women’s World Cup. Network ad revenues are pacing ahead of the 2019 tournament by 50%, aided in part by a group-stage rematch of the final between the U.S. and Netherlands four years ago, which Fox Sports will show in prime time.

The U.S. Women’s National Team, which won both the 2015 and 2019 editions, will be looking for the three-peat starting July 20.

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