FIFA has completed media rights deals in Russia and Italy for the 2018 World Cup.
In Russia, rights have been granted to the 2SPORT2 consortium (representing Channel One, RTR, and Match TV), which will ensure comprehensive coverage of the competition in the host country.
In Italy, Mediaset has secured live broadcast rights to all 64 matches to be aired on its free-to-air channels. The rights sales process in Italy was conducted by the MP & Silva, on behalf of FIFA.
Mediaset has reportedly agreed to pay $92m (€78m) for the exclusive rights – less than half the value of the fee paid for the rights of the previous two editions of the tournament. Mediaset said that it would show “free live coverage” of all 64 matches.
Rights in both territories have been awarded on a platform-neutral basis, allowing fans to enjoy TV, internet, mobile, and radio coverage of the competition.
“We are delighted to take two important steps closer to finalising the global broadcast offering for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia,” said FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Philippe Le Floc’h.
“The Russian consortium of broadcasters did a fantastic job of transmitting the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 this summer in the host territory, and we know that they will help to convey the special atmosphere that we will enjoy in Russia next summer. In the Italian market, we are very pleased to have Mediaset as a partner and Italian fans will be able to enjoy all 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup on free-to-air channels.”
Earlier this month, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Vitaly Mutko, has said he was confident a rights deal would be struck for the 2018 FIFA World Cup before the end of the year.
Mutko, who is chair of the organising committee for the world national team tournament and also serves as president of the Russian Football Union, provided an update to the situation ahead of the draw for the finals next summer.
Financial terms behind the Russian deal were not disclosed but in July, Mutko said FIFA wanted Russia to pay more than double what the country was willing to spend on broadcast rights for the World Cup. Mutko said that FIFA had asked for $110m (€95m) for the rights to the tournament, while Russian-backed media could only afford to pay between $38m and $40m. Mutko added that television advertising income in Russia is lower than in other countries.
“As we anticipated and announced, the issue was resolved before the end of this year. All the related issues were resolved, there were small nuances left and now the decision is made,” said Mutko speaking to the Russian news agency TASS.
Through the sale of media rights for its football tournaments, FIFA generates income that is essential to support and develop football around the world, for instance through the FIFA Forward Development Programme.