ESPN chips in share of Fifa’s US$3 billion pot
ESPN Brasil has been named as a broadcaster for the 2010 Fifa World Cup in the most successful country in world soccer.
The broadcaster, which has more than two million subscribers and was the first ESPN station launched outside the USA, will pay US$60 million for its share of the 2010 World Cup rights.
Brazil is home to probably the most fanatical soccer fans in the world, and to the most successful - and arguably most commercially valuable - national side. The country has won a record five World Cups - more than a quarter of the competition's in the tournament's history - including two of the last four, and its star players regularly feature in advertising for the world's biggest sports brands.
Fifa will bank a total of more than US$3 billion from the 2010 tournament's broadcast and marketing rights. It relies on the tournament, the most-watched competition in world sport, for more than 90 per cent of its income. The sport's governing body claimed a cumulative audience of 26.3 billion watched the 2006 event, broadcast in 214 countries and territories. "It should be more or less similar for 2010," said Fifa's television chief Niclas Ericson.
Notable contributions to that from under the ESPN International umbrella have come in the Indian subcontinent, where ESPN Star Sports secured television rights which had quadrupled in value to US$40 million, and the USA, where ESPN was part of a joint deal with ABC and Univision that, at more than US$400 million, represents the biggest deal Fifa has ever done for television rights in a single country. It saw ABC and ESPN pay US$100 million for the broadcast rights in English, and Univision triple that for the Spanish-language rights.
Ericson added that Fifa would be offering live coverage specifically produced for mobile phones for the first time at the 2010 World Cup finals. He said: "We have rolled out an aggressive product because more and more people are using the phone now to watch clips, results and updates on their mobile phones. We will have dedicated feeds for mobile users."
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- Length of contract: 1 year
- Annualised value: US$60 million
- Overall value: US$60 million
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