August 18 – With $570 million in revenue and a new world champion in waiting, Gianni Infantino has not just claimed that the 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup is the ‘best ever,’ but that FIFA’s decision to expand the finals to 32 teams was the right one.
The FIFA president feels vindicated about the tournament expansion. Following the 2019 World Cup, Zurich opened up the tournament to 32 finalists. “I’m sorry but FIFA was right,” said Infantino at the FIFA Women’s Convention in Sydney on the eve of the final between Spain and England. “FIFA was right. As it happens quite often in the last years, FIFA was right once more.”
“I remember when we decided to do that, of course the usual critics, which are less and less, were saying it’s not going to work and the level is too different. There would be 15-0 scores, it will be bad for women’s football and its image.”
The football official referred to a tournament where the debutants and lightweights delivered, defending champions the United States crashed out early and the playing field in general became more level. Eight of the 32 finalists were debutants, but the fear of mammoth scorelines proved unwarranted.
He quoted the tournament’s revenues as another reason why FIFA had got it right. For the first time, Infantino said, FIFA has broken even organising a Women’s World Cup.
“Some voices were raised, would it cost too much?” asked Infantino. “We don’t make enough revenues, we will have to subsidise. And our opinion was, well if we have to subsidise, we will subsidise, because we have to do that. But actually, this World Cup generated over $570 million in revenues, and so we broke even. We didn’t lose any money and we generated the second highest income of any sport, besides of course the men’s World Cup, at a global stage.”
FIFA could not provide a detailed breakdown of the revenue figure, but around $200 million has come from broadcast rights as the world federation for the first time unbundled the rights.
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