Fans still don’t know where to watch this summer’s Women’s World Cup, with England’s broadcast deal still to be finalized six months before the tournaments in New Zealand and Australia kick off.
The situation has aggravated many stakeholders in the sport due to the knock-on effect, particularly the impact of England’s Euro 2022 win and the inability to plan without mainstream media consent.
A source involved described it as “unprecedented”, pointing to how a similar timeframe for the men’s World Cup in June 2022 already dominates TV viewing for qualifiers.
The Independent Rights meetings between the UK broadcasters and FIFA were reported to have taken place in Doha after the bidding process began in June.
Various sources have described the UK channels’ offers as “downgrading FIFA” to “unacceptable”, although discussions are ongoing and an announcement is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
However, the ambiguity has led sources to doubt the “commitment” to women’s football after Euro 2022, although one issue for broadcasters is understood to be the timing of the games.
England’s first game against one of the remaining play-off winners in Brisbane on July 22 is at 9.30am UK time and the second against Denmark in Sydney at 7.30am UK time. Meanwhile, defending champions USA kick off their first two games at midnight UK time.
FIFA insists it has an obligation to accept only a reasonable offer to fuel the enormous growth in women’s football, as it is aware of the strong global broadcast numbers and the entire tournament is naturally seen as prime for reinvestment in women’s football. .
The global governing body has invested £800m between 2019 and 2022 and is critical to sustaining a successful World Cup development. This created criticism of broadcasters both within the sport and in public
“It’s not about pricing, it’s about broadcasters’ unwillingness to pay what women’s football deserves,” Fifa’s commercial director Romy Guy said in October. Television in France was a catalyst for change in terms of ratings. We know there is an opportunity for women’s soccer. Now, together, we must seize it.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino described it as “100 times less, and in some cases even 100 times more, so it is not acceptable”. “I don’t want to mention them, but those who are there know that.”
The Independent The broadcasters were contacted, but none would comment on the ongoing negotiation process.
A key issue is that many stakeholders and partners have found that they fail to properly plan campaigns for the Women’s World Cup because there are no details about when it will air or who will be involved, which can reduce the impact of the tournament.
The rights suit was separated from the men’s game in December 2021.
Euro 2022 was a big hit on the BBC, with 27.4 million viewers watching coverage of the tournament and 17.4 million watching England’s 2-1 win over Germany in the final at Wembley.
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