Multiplatforms Help ESPN/ABC Win FIFA

NEW YORK The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officially announced today that ESPN/ABC Sports was awarded the U.S. English-language TV rights to televise the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

The rights fee is $100 million, as reported by Mediaweek earlier this week. The rights include not only the two World Cup tournaments, but also the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup rights, the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009 and 2013, and other FIFA soccer events.

ABC will air at least 10 matches live during the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups under the agreement. All remaining matches will be aired by ESPN and ESPN2. Every telecast will be available in high definition.

The agreement also encompasses extensive multimedia rights, including the airing of features, data, match reports and the like on, live game simulcasts on ESPN360, instant game re-airings on ESPN Classic and assorted information released on Mobile ESPN.

The ESPN/ABC bid was accepted by FIFA over bids by NBC Universal, Fox and Comcast. Jerome Valcke, director of marketing and TV for FIFA, acknowledged that the financial committee originally had agreed to accept an early, exclusive bid by NBC Universal, but the FIFA executive committee later decided to delay the process and encourage other U.S. networks to bid, which they did.

Valcke said the broad range of multimedia platforms that ESPN/ABC was able to provide, in addition to being able to televise not only the World Cups, but also various other FIFA tournaments.