October 24 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reiterated that the world governing body will not accept low bids for the Women’s World Cup broadcast rights.
Infantino called some of the bids from broadcasters for the biggest tournament in the women’s game “unacceptable” with FIFA having rejected bids from the UK, Italy, Germany, and France.
He took a swipe at broadcasters who lectured about gender equality but, in his view, failed to submit offers that matched the prestige of the tournament.
“When these same broadcasters, often public but also private, offer us 100 times less for the Women’s World Cup than what they offer for the men’s World Cup, even more than 100 times in some occasions, then this is not acceptable,” said the FIFA president at a news conference in Auckland.
“We are not going to accept this because we know the viewing figures for these broadcasters in some big footballing countries for the men’s World Cup or for the women’s World Cup are actually very similar. In the recent past, we had viewing figures in the last Women’s World Cup of 1.2 billion people.”
FIFA wants to capitalise on the success of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, which was played out in front of big crowds and sizeable TV interest. The governing body has expanded the tournament from 24 teams to 32 teams and awarded the hosting rights to Australia and New Zealand.
In the past, the Women’s World Cup broadcast rights were an add-on in the broadcasters’ package for the men’s World Cup, but for the first time FIFA is selling the rights separately in a bid to increase the commercial revenue from the women’s competition.
“Taking only the final, 263 million, which is more than twice the Super Bowl. And having these broadcasters, who push us to do more for equality, at the same time, however, offering us a hundred times less for the men (compared) to the women going by the viewing figures, meaning their commercial income is very similar for men and for women.”
Infantino, who claimed FIFA is pouring $1 billion into the women’s game across a four-year cycle, however, expressed his hope that a middle ground could be found with the broadcasters.
“It needs to be seriously looked at and we are not going to accept these offers, this must be very clear,” said Infantino. “Hopefully we’ll find ways to come to terms with it but it’s important that everyone puts actions behind words and we all start to treat women’s football the same way.”
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