FIFA opens invite to tender for 2023 Women’s World Cup media rights

Football’s world governing body FIFA has opened two invitations to tender (ITT) for the media rights to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The tournament will be hosted across cities in Australia and New Zealand, with FIFA having last week announced 9 host cities and 10 stadiums across the 2 countries to host matches.

The Matildas will play on home soil at the 2023 World Cup

In announcing the tender processes, FIFA revealed it will move to “select the media companies that are best placed to achieve FIFA’s objectives of providing maximum exposure for the tournament and offering fans in Australia and New Zealand a high-quality viewing experience”.

SBS and Optus Sport were the Australian broadcast partners for the last edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, held in France in 2019. SBS broadcast 13 select games free-to-air while Optus aired all 52 games, and all games were streamed for free.

However, the emergence of a handful of sports-focused streaming services in Australia over the past few years will likely provide stiff competition for both this time around.

The 2019 edition of the tournament in France drew a record audience globally, with over 1.1 billion viewers tuning in, making it the most-watched single-sport event for women in history.

The tournament has also been expanded to 32 teams for 2023, meaning more games, and likely, more eyeballs.

Football-driven streaming service Optus Sport, broadcaster for the English Premier League, Women’s Super League, and UEFA Champions League would appear likely to go in for the tournament rights, as perhaps may new kid on the block Sports Flick, which has shown itself as a proper player recently in quietly acquiring the rights to the Women’s UEFA Champions League.

Nine’s Stan Sport recently launched and has also been rumoured to be looking at the rights to the A-League and W-League, while Amazon Prime Sport landed in Australia this year and has pedigree broadcasting football in international markets.

Free-to-air players Seven, Ten and Nine could also be in contention, especially the latter if Stan Sport makes a play.

Foxtel (and its popular Kayo app) seems less likely to throw its hat in the ring, having made no secret of the dwindling importance of football compared to its NRL and AFL coverage in recent years.

Submissions to FIFA must be received by 10:00 CEST on Tuesday, 11 May 2021.


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