Apple TV offers FIFA $1Billion to stream ‘Fifa Club World Cup’ games

Apple TV is reportedly close to securing a global streaming deal for the expanded Fifa Club World Cup, due to be held in the US next summer.

According to The New York Times, the tech giant will pay US$1 billion for the rights to the month-long soccer tournament. It is unclear whether the arrangement includes carve outs for free-to-air (FTA) coverage.

Fifa declined to comment on the reports. However, if confirmed, it would be Apple’s first major global broadcast deal since it inked a ten-year, US$2.5 billion partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS).

The revamped competition has been a priority for world soccer’s governing body, which hopes the inclusion of more teams will prove more attractive to broadcasters, sponsors and fans, unlocking a lucrative new revenue stream.

It is also intended to be a warm-up event for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, which is due to be held in the US, Canada and Mexico.

However, the reported rights fee is less than a quarter of the US$4 billion that Fifa was believed to have been hoping for. Potential broadcasters and sponsors have been put off by the lack of concrete details about the competition as well as the large sums quoted by Fifa.

Although participants, venues and fixture dates are yet to be confirmed, it is believed the competition will be played in June and July.  

Although US$1 billion might seem a lot for a month-long competition with previous little pedigree, it’s a snip for a trillion-dollar company like Apple looking for global broadcast rights in a fragmented market.

The Club World Cup will complement its MLS coverage, bringing meaningful games involving the best teams in both North America and Europe to US soil. The tournament will also have more worldwide appeal than MLS – even accounting for the inclusion of Lionel Messi.

As for Fifa, the Club World Cup hasn’t quite turned into the money spinner it had hoped. High costs and poor planning have dampened any surge in demand for a competition that has previously failed to set pulses racing in major markets. In the UK, the rights have bandied around between various broadcasters, with the most recent edition ending up on TNT Sports. Fifa’s own direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform has streamed the tournament in other markets.

Meanwhile, sponsors have been reluctant to commit to paying a reported US$150 million fee given the current uncertainty.

Much like the stalemate over the value of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup rights in key European markets, and the split with video game giant EA Sports, there is a vast disparity between what Fifa believes its commercial packages are worth and what the market says.

Source: SportsProMedia

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