With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year, soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has launched its own streaming service. FIFA+ launched on April 12th across the web and mobile devices in five languages, with six additional languages set to launch in June. More devices are expected to offer the app in the future as well – smart TVs, streaming sticks, and game consoles would seem likely.
The nascent streaming service features a variety of live matches from 100 Member Associations around the world, and an archive of all recorded matches from past FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cup events – in total, the service offers 2,500 hours of archived content dating back to the ‘50s. In addition, it will include original documentary features, docuseries, and shorts that allow fans to get closer to the game and its players, as well as breaking news and highlights from around the world in soccer. It will not, however, include live matches from this year’s FIFA World Cup.
For FIFA, the launch of a streaming service represents a fairly substantial shift from its longstanding business model, which relied on broadcasting partners in various regions to engage in much of the heavy lifting. Moreover, FIFA+ has been designed to give the organization deeper involvement in ecommerce, as the platform enables fans to buy tickets and licensed merchandise.
“FIFA+ represents the next step in our vision to make football truly global and inclusive, and it underpins FIFA’s core mission of expanding and developing football globally,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said. “This project represents a cultural shift in the way different types of football fans want to connect with and explore the global game and has been a fundamental part of my Vision 2020-2023. It will accelerate the democratization of football and we are delighted to share it with fans.”
FIFA+ is a free, ad-supported streaming service, which should help with adoption. A streaming service focused on the world’s most popular sport would seem to make sense globally.
Interpret’s New Media Measure: Global Profiles data suggest that interest in FIFA+ could be high. Globally, 32% of people watch professional sports and 17% watch sporting events on streaming video. This is most prevalent in Spain (39% watch sports and 22% watch sporting events on streaming video) and India (36% and 23%). Nigeria may be the biggest potential growth market – 40% watch sports, but only 15% watch sports on streaming video, showing there may be an opportunity for streaming of sports-related content in the country.
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