Women’s World Cup faces blackout in major European market

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has stated that the football governing body may not broadcast the Women’s World Cup in the ‘big five’ European countries, including the UK, if the bidding outlets fail to improve their “disappointing” and “unacceptable” offers.

The tournament is set to kick off in Brisbane on July 22, and so far, there has been no announcement regarding the broadcast rights in the UK.

Similarly, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany are among the countries singled out by Infantino.

Infantino expressed his disappointment at the situation and called on broadcasters to pay a fair price for media rights.

FIFA has already raised the prize money to USD 152 million, which is triple the amount paid in 2019 and ten times more than in 2015.

Infantino explained that 100% of the rights fees paid would go directly into women’s football to promote equal conditions and pay. He also highlighted the duty of public broadcasters to promote and invest in women’s sports.

Despite the impressive viewership figures of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is between 50-60% of the men’s FIFA World Cup, broadcasters’ offers for the women’s tournament are 20 to 100 times lower than for the men’s event.

Infantino stated that broadcasters typically pay USD 100-200 million for the men’s FIFA World Cup, while they offer only USD 1-10 million for the Women’s World Cup.

He described the low offers as a “slap in the face” of all women worldwide and called on all players, fans, football officials, politicians, and journalists to support the call for fair remuneration of women’s football.

More about Women’s football

In the UK, the tender process for broadcasting rights to the Women’s World Cup opened in June 2022, and the bid deadline was July 12 of the same year.

However, no concrete deal has been agreed upon yet, although positive discussions are ongoing with potential UK broadcasters.

It is important to note that the Women’s World Cup and UEFA Women’s EURO were added to the Listed Events Regime in April 2022, which means that they must be offered to free-to-air broadcasters, limiting potential bidders.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be the first to take place under FIFA’s overhauled commercial structure, which separates the women’s game from the men’s, allowing brands to take up dedicated partnerships exclusively for women’s football programmes.

It is crucial to note that broadcasting rights fees play a significant role in the development of women’s football.

If broadcasters undervalue women’s tournaments, it will not only affect the financial remuneration of players but also hinder the growth of women’s football globally.

Therefore, it is essential that broadcasters pay a fair price for media rights to promote equal conditions and pay for women in football.

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