European Governments Press FIFA for Women’s World Cup TV Rights

(Photo Credit: Peter Glaser/Unsplash)

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The biggest girlboss of them all? Why it’s Gianni Infantino of course.

The governments of the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy released a joint statement on Wednesday in an effort to resolve a stalemate over the TV rights to the Women’s World Cup that has FIFA president Gianni Infantino threatening to withhold the tournament entirely.

I Am Infantino, Hear Me Roar

Women’s soccer is fast accumulating commercial critical mass. The 2022 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship drew a record global viewership of 365 million people, more than double the viewership of the previous tournament in 2017.

Now the World Cup is due to start on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand, and FIFA is holding out for a better deal:

  • Historically, FIFA has included broadcasting rights for the Women’s World Cup when sealing the rights for the men’s world cup. This marks the first year when the deals have been negotiated separately.
  • Infantino said in early May that European broadcasters had offered between $1 million and $10 million for the rights, which he called a “slap in the face of all the great FIFA Women’s World Cup players and indeed of all women worldwide.” For reference, broadcasters offer somewhere around $100 million to $200 million for the men’s World Cup.

To some pundits, Infantino’s comments rang more Mean Girls than She-EO. Ex-FIFA Council member Moya Dodd said soon afterward it was “a bit rich to scold broadcasters for underpaying,” adding: “If you look at the history, FIFA itself never put any value on the women’s [game’s] rights.”

Beware Sportsflation: Soccer isn’t the only sport where broadcasting rights are exorbitant. According to a JPMorgan report published in early May, the money being pumped into sports media rights and resulting inflation is “unsustainable long-term.” Kind of an own-goal waiting to happen.