DOHA ( Associated Press) – FIFA projects $11 billion in billings by 2026 as the 48-team World Cup in North America will generate a huge revenue boost.
World football’s governing body FIFA presented its four-year budget to the Council on Friday. It provided a 50% increase in audio-visual rights contracts and sponsorships for the Men’s World Cup, as well as ticket sales and hospitality packages for the tournament to be held at various NFL club stadiums.
“We are excited about the impact football will have in the years to come,” Infantino said. “In Qatar it’s massive and I’m sure at the next World Cup, in North America, it’s going to be huge.”
“We’ll have 48 teams, three countries hosting the World Cup, more matches, more broadcasts, more tickets… and we’ll have to take it as long as there are big stadiums in North America… we’re sure football is about to explode in North America”.
FIFA often makes conservative budget estimates and exceeds targets.
The $7.5 billion revenue announced last month in Qatar for the 2019-22 cycle was $1 billion more than expected.
He still does not know how many games will be played in the 48-team tournament – a requirement for negotiating broadcast rights.
The FIFA Council approved the 80-match format in January 2017. The teams will play a stage of 16 groups of three teams, all against each other, to continue with the 32-team straight-elimination round. The 2022 tournament, which concludes with Sunday’s final between Argentina and France, had 64 games scheduled.
“We have to rethink the best format”, said Infantino, who stressed that the “exciting drama” of matches united with three-team groups would be lost.
The new format was adopted with the intention of accelerating the development of football in countries that often do not qualify for the World Cup. This contrasted with an analysis by FIFA itself, which confirmed that the current 32-team format – which began in 1998 – guaranteed better quality matches.
However, FIFA officials this year suggested a 104-game format, with teams divided into 12 groups of four before a 32-team knockout round. This probably adds more days to a tournament that usually lasts 32 days.
FIFA considers the changes despite having already signed significant contracts for audio-visual rights with American series Fox and Qatari beIN to be broadcast in the Middle East and North Africa.