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FIFA start hunt for 2026, 2030 World Cup media rights in six European markets

The European market is one of biggest contributors of FIFA’s pocket

Global soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has initiated its media rights sales processes for the 2026 and 2030 men’s World Cups in six European markets. The invitations to tender (ITT) have been launched in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia.

The bid submission deadline is set for April 16 at 10:00 am Central European Time. This move marks a significant step towards securing broadcasting rights for these major sporting events across these countries.

The upcoming tournaments will be hosted by multiple countries. The 2026 FIFA World Cup matches will take place across Mexico, the US, and Canada. Meanwhile, Spain, Portugal and Morocco are set to stage most of the matches for the subsequent edition in 2030. However three games from that event will also be held in Uruguay Argentina and Paraguay.

The more teams factor brings more interest among broadcasters

A notable change is that the number of teams participating in the tournament will increase from 32 to a record-breaking total of 48 teams starting from the year 2026. This means that there will be an increased representation from Europe with as many as sixteen sides qualifying up from thirteen during last edition.

FIFA had previously begun similar processes earlier this year within other European nations such as Netherlands Belgium Luxembourg France Monaco Andorra along with French overseas territories.

For reference during previous tournaments like World Cup held in Qatar back on year-2022 broadcasting rights were owned by BNT Nova (Bulgaria), Czech TV Nova (Czech Republic), MTVA (Hungary), Teleradio (Moldova), Pro TV (Romania) RTV Slovakia respectively through an overall deal between FIFA & European Broadcast Union alliance comprising public-service broadcasters.

FIFA may have played a gamble with rights for WC 2030

FIFA has stated that the tender process will enable it to select media partners who are best positioned to meet its broadcasting objectives. These include reaching the widest possible audience while providing a high-quality viewing experience for fans.

The 2030 World Cup, due to its location, is expected to be broadcast during a friendlier timezone for Central and Eastern Europe. This could potentially increase viewership numbers in these regions.

Interestingly none of the six countries where tender processes have now begun qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However with increased slots available from 2026 onwards there might be an opportunity for these nations to participate in future editions of this prestigious tournament.

FIFA's launch of media rights tenders marks an important step towards ensuring widespread coverage and accessibility of one of the world’s most-watched sporting events across various European markets.

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