Fifa to earn R25-billion from World Cup TV rights

Soccer’s world controlling body Fifa will earn about R25-billion on the television media rights to broadcast the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

That was a massive increase from the R22-billion Fifa received for the past two World Cups combined, Fifa TV director Niclas Ericson told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Monday.

Fifa was also making the 2010 spectacle available to millions of fans via their cellphones worldwide.

Fifa would spend an estimated R1,5-billion on TV production for the world showpiece. However, Ericson said he was expecting a viewership of just more than 26-billion worldwide for the duration of the month-long tournament, the same number that watched the 2006 event in Germany.

Said Ericson: “It is difficult to estimate the viewership expected. Had a country like China with 1,3-billion people qualified for the World Cup, then viewership would have soared.

“But although we are not quite at saturation point, it is difficult to estimate how many viewers we will have even in Africa.
It depends on how well African teams fare in the World Cup, but we expect it will be roughly the same as in 2006.”

Ericson said Fifa would give Africa a better deal for the 2010 finals.

“We have entered an agreement with the African Union of Broadcasters to place the TV rights in 41 sub-Saharan countries before the end of 2009. The dream would be for an African team top reach the final, which would boost TV viewership.

“We expect Africa to support whichever country from the continent goes the farthest in the World Cup, but we want to make sure the event is available to as many Africans as possible as this is an African event.”

Fifa would now do the broadcast in-house with HBS as the host broadcaster and the SABC as the official broadcaster. The chief executive of HBS Francis Tellier, also announced that all World Cup matches would be available on cellphones worldwide.

Said Tellier: “Not everyone can get to a TV screen when the matches are being played. Therefore we have worked out a way of ensuring that the matches, results and updates etc will be available on cellphones. This is a big innovation and we believe it will be well received.”

Tellier also said the quality of the broadcasts would be the highest ever. Instead of a maximum of 25 cameras used in Germany in 2006, the 2010 event would see a minimum of 29 and up to 32 cameras used for the final and bigger matches.

Ericson added a Fifa TV crew would travel with every participating team and would produce features for all broadcasters.

The Confederations Cup would be a test event as regards TV and telecommunications and planning was on track.

Said Ericson: “The Confederations Cup tickets sales are doing well. We expect all stadiums to be full. That event gives us the chance to see where we can improve and rectify mistakes for the bigger 2010 World Cup.”—Sapa

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