Broadcasters to pitch for FIFA telecast rights at Soccerex 2004

At Soccerex 2004, FIFA will announce how it will award its TV and sponsorship rights for the period after 2006.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  October 31, 2004

All of the world’s broadcast heavyweights will be in Dubai later this month to pitch for the most TV expensive rights of all — the FIFA World Cup. Huge sums of money will exchange hands at Soccerex, which is being held at Madinat Jumeirah from November 29-30. At Soccerex 2004, FIFA will announce how it will award its TV and sponsorship rights for the period after 2006. “For the next two World Cups, FIFA is going to announce to the world officially how it is going to sell its TV rights, what strategy it will use and whether it will sell directly to broadcasters or to the middle men,” James Worrall, commercial director for Soccerex, told Digital Studio in an exclusive interview. In the past, FIFA used to sell its rights to an agency, which in turn generated huge profits by selling it to broadcasters worldwide. This time, however, FIFA might take a more direct approach. “It’s likely they will eliminate the middle men and sell directly to the most lucrative markets, and I expect that the Middle East is a region they will sell directly to,” says Worrall. Among the many broadcasters that will be at the exhibition to secure rights will be regional players like Al Jazeera Sports, Dubai TV, ART and many others who will be pitching against each other. “Football is the biggest sport in the world and these are the most valuable rights in the world. It is the place to be if people want to do deals,” explains Worrall. “Moreover, this platform will be used to discuss broadcast rights and this will be one event that will influence decisions on rights for other similar events,” he adds. Unsurprisingly, a few broadcast solutions providers such as Vizrt have decided to seize the moment and be at the exhibition so they can tell broadcasters how their solutions can make football production for television much more attractive to viewers. Also on the scene will be satellite solution providers like New Skies, Globecast, Intelsat and many others.

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