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FIFA fail to strike deal with Apple for Club World Cup

Published: Updated: 06:18, 22 Jun 2024
FIFA is failing to find suitor for CWC despite big new reforms in structure

FIFA's reformulated Club World Cup has encountered a series of obstacles, the latest being the collapse of a potential deal with tech giant Apple. The governing body had previously announced plans to expand the competition from seven teams to 32 for the 2025 version set to take place in the United States. However, this decision has been met with intense backlash from players, coaches, and club officials.

Unions representing players slated to participate in the competition have recently announced plans to sue FIFA over these changes. Alongside increasing match numbers, FIFA is also moving the Club World Cup matches to summer. FIFPro, one of these unions involved in legal action against FIFA represents approximately 65,000 professional players globally.

Apple failed to match FIFA's expectations

In addition to potentially facing legal battles with player unions, FIFA is now grappling with issues concerning its negotiations with Apple. The two parties were deep into discussions about a partnership that would make Apple an exclusive broadcaster for the 2025 edition of Club World Cup.

However, talks are reportedly breaking down as Apple valued their partnership at around $1 billion - only about a quarter of what FIFA was seeking. These funds would be used by FIFA to pay clubs participating in this tournament.

Potential benefits for Major League Soccer (MLS)

Despite current challenges between both parties if an agreement were reached it could potentially benefit Major League Soccer (MLS). An agreement could allow Apple use its broadcasting rights for Club World Cup matches as leverage gain subscribers for MLS Season Passes which would attract new soccer audiences towards their streaming service and allow cross-selling opportunities between both competitions.

Apple has previously purchased streaming rights for Major League Baseball games, although this deal only covers select matchups.

A FIFA representative contacted by Bloomberg stated that "many" broadcasters are interested in obtaining television rights to the upcoming tournament. As a result, FIFA is keeping its options open at the moment.

FIFA representative, said:

“FIFA is fully confident and convinced of the commercial and sporting success of the new competition,”

“FIFA is in regular and productive dialogue with the key counterparties involved including prospective venues, media and commercial partners, and of course the clubs themselves.”

While the future of Club World Cup broadcasting remains uncertain, it's clear that FIFA is exploring all available avenues to ensure a successful and profitable tournament.

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