Broadcast bonuses show FIFA hasn’t changed
May 31, 2017
Reports that bonuses of US$295 million are due to FIFA if the 2026 World Cup is held in the USA are yet more evidence that football is not reformed, continues to lack transparent decision-making, and is not deserving of the trust and confidence of fans and players.
The massive bonuses are a legacy from the administration of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Under his administration, the rights to broadcast the 2026 World Cup in North America were renewed, without a competitive process, to Telemundo and FOX Sports at the same real cost as the 2022 tournament of $350 million and $300 million respectively.
The reports state that each broadcaster also included a ‘sweetener’ in case the 2026 tournament was hosted in the USA. In the case of Telemundo, the bonus is $115 million and from FOX Sports, it is $180 million.
A combined bonus of $295 million is more than likely to be an explanation for the current FIFA President’s and the FIFA Council’s enthusiasm for the combined US/Canada/Mexico bid, and the exclusive period the bid has been granted to put forward its credentials.
The ‘preferred bidder’ status given to the US/Canada/Mexico bid for 2026 at the most recent FIFA Congress shows that the decision-making processes within FIFA are no more transparent than previously. Decision-making and deal-making merely occur in a different way.
The bonuses in respect of 2026 also raise possible implications for other tournaments.
If bonuses of this magnitude are the norm in awarding broadcast rights for the World Cup, there are three questions FIFA must answer:
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