FIFA opens sub-Saharan Africa TV bidding for World Cups

FIFA opens sub-Saharan Africa TV bidding for World Cups

FIFA has opened two separate tender processes for the sub-Saharan Africa media rights to the men’s FIFA World Cup 2026 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027.

Media organisations will put forward their proposals to world football’s governing body to obtain the rights for the expanded 2026 men’s tournament, which will be hosted in Canada, Mexico, and the USA, and will feature a record 48 nations.

The larger format will consist of 104 matches, double the number of the knock-out stage matches in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as FIFA looks to eke extra revenues out of its most globally watched and lucrative event. 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will have a guaranteed nine representatives at the next FIFA World Cup, while a tenth could qualify through FIFA’s intercontinental play-off tournament.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was the best FIFA World Cup ever for African teams. Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the tournament, Senegal advanced to the round of 16, and Cameroon, Ghana, and Tunisia each recorded group stage wins. 

According to FIFA’s 2022 budget, worldwide TV broadcast rights for the last World Cup were expected to bring in $2.64bn. 

All 64 matches were broadcast live across sub-Saharan Africa exclusively on pay-TV platforms New World TV and SuperSport. New World TV broadcast games to 19 French speaking sub-Saharan countries, while SuperSport broadcast to over 40 countries in English. New World also broadcast in in local dialects including Wolof, Lingala, Bambara and Ewe.

Twenty-eight matches were broadcast live by major local free-to-air broadcasters across the region. The free-to-air games were delivered via sub-licensing agreements with Media Business Solutions, the exclusive agent of New World TV, while SABC was the local free-to-air broadcaster in South Africa.

Women’s event gains in importance 

Broadcasters will also bid on the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027, the host of which will be decided on 17 May 2024 by the FIFA Congress. FIFA has confirmed expressions of interest to host the tournament from South Africa and Brazil, as well as joint approaches from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and the USA and Mexico. 

The Women’s World Cup is an increasingly popular and lucrative event in FIFA’s calendar as worldwide interest in women’s football mounts. FIFA reported that this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand broke records for ticket sales, broadcast figures and digital media data. 

The tournament marked the first time that broadcast rights were sold individually in many markets, but the Wall Street Journal reported that sales had fallen around $100m short of FIFA’s $300m target. New World TV and SuperSport were the sub-Saharan African broadcasters, with New World handling free-to-air licensing.  

Three of Africa’s four representatives advanced to the knockout phase and all four won a World Cup match for the first time in history. 

The bid submission deadlines for both tournaments is Wednesday 13 December.