Fifa unveiled the schedule for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with four matches per day in the group stage of the tournament. Kick-off times will be 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm local time. The tournament’s opening game on 21 November will involve Qatar and be staged at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium, while the final on 18 December will be held at the 80,000 Lusail Stadium in Doha.
The broadcasting rights picture in Brazilian soccer was shaken up after president Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree giving home clubs full control over their matches. The move represented a fundamental change to the Pelé Law of 1998 under which both participating teams in a game needed to be in agreement for it to be televised live, resulting in blackouts of fixtures when, for instance, one club had a rights deal with Brazilian commercial broadcasting giant Globo and the other was aligned with USA-based powerhouse Turner Group.
The DFL, the German soccer league, concluded its domestic rights sales for the 2021-22 to 2024-25 cycle, bringing in €4.4 billion in total, a drop of €200 million on the present deal, as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic precluded what was expected to be a healthy increase for the Bundesliga. The pay-TV packages will remain with Sky and over-the-top service DAZN, while commercial channel ProSiebenSat.1 will succeed public-service broadcaster ZDF as the free-to-air rights holder.
Atos, the Paris-headquartered information technology company, extended its top-tier ‘TOP’ sponsorship of the International Olympic Committee to encompass the 2024 Olympic Games on home soil. It has been a key technology provider for the Olympics since 1989, when it provided services to the Barcelona 1992 organising committee, and went on to become the IOC’s worldwide information technology partner in 2001. Its present deal, signed in 2014, was due to expire this year, but was extended to 2021 to include the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
The Ryder Cup, the high-profile golf contest between USA and Europe, has reverted to odd numbered years after the 2020 tournament was postponed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic. The next event will take place, as planned, at Whistling Straits in the US state of Michigan in September, 2021. Rome, Italy will now play host in 2023.
The organisers of the Wimbledon tennis championships distributed £10 million in prize money for the 2020 tournament even though it was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Wimbledon was safeguarded from serious financial fallout by a pandemic insurance policy it had taken out earlier this century but admitted that similar protection will not be in place in 2021.
IMG saw off competition from rival agencies Dentsu and Infront to become the strategic partner of World Table Tennis, the new Singapore-based commercial vehicle of the International Table Tennis Federation. The long-term deal covers exclusive global media rights development and distribution, production oversight of WTT events, betting data and streaming rights for its IMG Arena business, non-exclusive sponsorship representation and assistance with the procurement of host cities for events.
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND
Australia and New Zealand eased to victory in the election to host the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023, picking up 22 votes to Colombia’s 13. Brazil and Japan withdrew from the bidding process prior to the 25 June vote. The host cities will be Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle and Launceston in Australia, and Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin in New Zealand.
Hamilton has been given until late September to secure further financial support from local and federal government for its bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. It has been chosen ahead of Calgary as Canada’s preferred candidate city for a bid and is the sole candidate at present, with the Commonwealth Games Federation hopeful of awarding the games by the end of 2020.
The World Trade Organisation held the Saudi government responsible for piracy of broadcasts carried out by beoutQ, a network based in the country that has long been a bête noire of rights holders. The WTO backed up claims made by various federations and leagues that the Saudi state promoted and supported beoutQ, which has been regularly accused of stealing international sports content. Having ruled that the Saudi government is in breach of international treaties, the WTO’s dispute panel called on it to “bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement [on intellectual property].”