January 2 – Local broadcast deals in Russia for the 2018 world cup have been agreed with FIFA after a fraught negotiation process that saw the Russians unwilling to pay the asking price for their home world cup.
For the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017, FIFA only secured a domestic TV deal with national sports channel Match-TV with two weeks to go before the tournament kick-off.
Russian broadcasters had previously refused to pay the $120 million asking price for rights claiming it didn’t reflect the economics in the host market. This was a $32 million increase on the price paid for the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
While again securing the right local broadcast deal late, it is still six months before the tournament and it is a deal that will see matches across a wider platform.
Rights have been acquired by the 2SPORT2 consortium (representing Channel One, RTR, and Match TV), for an undisclosed sum.
FIFA’s chief commercial officer, Philippe Le Floc’h, said: “The Russian consortium of broadcasters did a fantastic job of transmitting the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 this summer in the host territory, and we know that they will help to convey the special atmosphere that we will enjoy in Russia next summer.”
FIFA have also agreed a deal in Italy with Mediaset for live rights to all 64 matches to be aired on its free-to-air channels. Rights agency MP & Silva agency acted on behalf of FIFA. Normally a key broadcast rights market in terms of revenue, the non-qualification of Italy would have likely reduced the buying competition in the market.
FIFA said that rights in both Russia and Italy “have been awarded on a platform-neutral basis, allowing fans to enjoy TV, internet, mobile, and radio coverage of the competition.”
Before the holiday break FIFA also reported that more than 2.3 million tickets had been requested since 5 December. The current sales window closes January 31.
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