FIFA Extends Bell Media World Cup TV Rights Through 2026

CBC and Sportsnet will be shut out of broadcasting the World Cup until 2030, at the earliest. In a surprise announcement yesterday that nobody was expecting, FIFA said they were extending their television contracts in Canada with CTV/TSN/RDS and in the US with Fox Sports and Telemundo without a bidding process.

Back in 2011, Bell Media won the World Cup rights from 2015 to 2022 which includes World Cup’s in Russia, Qatar, and the Women’s World Cup later this year in Canada, as well as numerous smaller tournaments. This extension adds the 2026 World Cup to the agreement along with the following tournaments: Women’s World Cup 2023, U20 World Cup 2023 and 2025, U17 World Cup 2023 and 2025, Beach Soccer World Cup 2023 and 2025, Futsal World Cup 2024, U20 Women’s World Cup 2024 and 2026, U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 and 2026, and FIFA Confederations Cup 2025.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with FIFA and are proud to be the Canadian home of FIFA tournaments for the next 12 years,” said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. “This is another big win for Bell Media and for soccer fans in Canada. We are ready to welcome the world to this summer’s FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP CANADA 2015™ and are looking forward to showcasing the beautiful game for years to come.”

There is literally only one reason I can think of as to why FIFA would extend their agreements with these two North American broadcasters without the usual bidding process — a make-good gesture for when the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be moved from summer to the fall or winter. In the summer, the World Cup would be going against little other sports programming. With a move to the fall or winter, even with the time difference, World Cup games would clash with NFL and college football among other big-time programming.

Even more puzzling is awarding rights to a World Cup that has no location yet. There is a strong possibility that the USA and/or Canada could host the 2026 World Cup, which would’ve sparked a massive bidding war for record ratings, and we all know FIFA loves money. Now, this could be a major steal for Bell and Fox, something that no doubt is pissing off the ESPN suits.

As for CBC or Sportsnet, there is certainly little chance either network could afford FIFA rights anytime soon, but 2030 is a long time away in the sports media world, so maybe they’ll have a shot then.

5 thoughts on “FIFA Extends Bell Media World Cup TV Rights Through 2026

  1. How about the WC not in Qatar at all in 2022, it’s entirely possible at this stage it won’t be there.

  2. I wouldn’t count on Canada hosting the World Cup any time in the next few decades, certainly not by itself. And why would the U.S. want to share? The U.S has more than enough suitable stadiums on its own.
    Canada now does not have a single stadium with the required natural grass surface that would be large enough. And some of the larger artificial turf ones we do have (Big Owe, SkyDome) may be too old by then.
    If the plan was to be like Qatar, South Africa. etc., and build a whole bunch of white elephant new stadiums just to host the World Cup — well I just don’t see that getting approved if it involved government money, and I don’t know who else would be dumb enough to pay for it.

    • au contraire, grass can easily be installed in Vancouver, Edmonton & Winnipeg, Grass and capacity increase can easily be done for Ottawa & Hamilton. Regina will have a new ~40k stadium in a few years. Calgary will likely have a new stadium before 2020. That leaves as question marks Montreal & Toronto.

      Money will be spent as Vancouver & Edmonton municipal govt are ponying up $1 million+ to replace the turf with FIFA approved turf for this summer’s Women’s World Cup. And this summer’s tourney success or not will go a long way in determining whether Canada bids for 2026.

    • There are some hints future world cup might not have to be on grass.

  3. Check any links between Sepp Blatter and the networks that have the existing agreements. Sepp Blatter is maybe not as corrupt as Jack Warner, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can see him.

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