Russian TV channels refuse to pay $120mn for 2018 FIFA World Cup rights – report

Russian TV channels refuse to pay $120mn for 2018 FIFA World Cup rights – report
Russian TV channels are reportedly refusing to meet FIFA’s asking price for broadcasting rights for the 2018 World Cup – meaning Russians could be deprived of watching matches on TV as their country hosts the FIFA showpiece tournament next year.

Russian broadcasters are involved in a standoff with FIFA over broadcasting rights for the tournament, with FIFA asking for $120 million to show matches, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. 

The price is three times higher than that for the last World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014.

It means that with just 14 months to go until the opening game in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, the host country still doesn’t have a broadcaster willing to meet the asking price.

Rights for the Confederations Cup – also to be held in Russia and seen as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup – are also yet to be sold to a local broadcaster, despite the first match being less than three months away.

“If FIFA is waiting for someone from the government to come out with a bag of money and pay them, it might be a while before there’s a deal,” said Petr Makarenko, the head of Moscow-based sports marketing agency Telesport, as cited by Bloomberg.

“It’s not unusual for prices to go up for each tournament, but not by 200 percent.”

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be played at 12 stadiums across 11 Russian cities from June 14 to July 15. Prior to that Russia will host 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup from June 17 to July 2. It will be the first time either tournament has been held in Russia.