Fifa inks $425 mn deal with ESPN US, ABC

MUMBAI: As football's governing body Fifa embarks upon a new era in the field of TV, the organisation has announced that it has secured a long-term commitment from US broadcasters ABC, ESPN and Univision that extends far beyond its existing broadcasting partnerships.

The networks have been awarded the TV rights to all Fifa events for the US territory from 2007 to 2014 including the two World Cups that take place within this period. This new agreement covers a wide range of media categories, including multimedia broadband internet and mobile telephony.

Fifa says that this agreement represents the biggest TV deal in a single country in its history. It consists of a record cash payment of $425 million from the broadcasters for all Fifa events. In addition to the cash amount, ABC/ESPN and Univision will run substantial promotions for Fifa events and the Fifa brand across the US during the entire period of the contract. It is the first time that Fifa has entered into a broadcasting deal of this scale.

ESPN's extensive network of cooperation - in particular with other commercial affiliates such as Electronic Arts - will support the cross-promotion of football and Fifa's assets across the US using a variety of channels entirely in line with Fifa's stated mission.

Fifa president Joseph S. Blatter says, "ABC, ESPN and Univision came to us with a comprehensive package. This will not only guarantee coverage of the Fifa World Cup in 2010 and 2014 and all other Fifa tournaments in the men's and women's games but also promote football and the Fifa brand even at those times when no tournaments are taking place. With these two well-known companies we have ensured that images of our events will be seen by the widest possible audience across the US' steadily growing football market. I am extremely happy with this momentous deal. It is a major milestone in our new TV approach".

ABC Sports and ESPN have been granted the exclusive English language rights to cover the 2010 and 2014 World Cup's oin full within the US as well as the Women's World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and all 11 other Fifa events. Univision has secured the equivalent Spanish language options.

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