FIFA Broadcast Innovations for World Cup Grows Global Audience

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Yemenis watch a broadcast of Mexico playing Cameroon on a big screen in a tent erected in Sanaa's Tahrir square (Getty)
(WFI) FIFA says the Brazil World Cup is reaching more people than ever before thanks to innovations in its TV broadcasts.

Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of TV, told reporters at the daily media briefing in Rio on Sunday that Host Broadcast Services, which is owned by Infront Sports & Media, has made several improvements to its 2010 World Cup offering.

He said 34 cameras were in operation at each of the 12 host stadiums, with a 'skycam' in each. South Africa 2010 venues had fewer cameras, with the aerial camera in only selected venues.

In addition, 40 TV crews on the road provide additional content to broadcasters working in the IBC in Rio.

Ericson said the ‘tunnel cam’ showing players and officials before every match was enhancing HBS’s offering. FIFA is also providing live coverage from all training grounds and daily highlights package to broadcasters.

Answering a question about how much the hunt for big TV audiences had impacted the timetable of matches, with some scheduled to be played in hot and humid conditions that have brought questions about players’ welfare, Ericson said “the issue of TV influence is not that big”.

He said FIFA’s competitions department made the final decision in consultation over many months with the football governing body’s various committees, including TV, safety and security and medical panels, and Brazil’s organizing committee.

FIFA said temperatures in England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy in the northern tropical city of Manaus, scheduled at 19:00 local time, did not exceed 27 degrees.

Huge TV Audiences

In TV audience and social media terms, Ericson said Brazil 2014 will be by far the world’s biggest ever sporting event.

He expects the cumulative global audience to top the 3.2 billion recorded for South Africa 2010 due in part to the 6-7 percent growth of the world’s population and more licensees receiving FIFA’s broadcasting feed.

Ericson said cumulative audience figures should be treated “with caution” as some countries had no audited figures meaning that “guesses or assumptions” had to be made. “FIFA takes a conservative view… hope for a reliable figure in the end,” he said.

But added to other “consumption” of the World Cup, the images prepared for different multimedia platforms would increase audience reach further, not to mention FIFA’s new social media drive for Brazil 2014 which is engaging millions of fans.

“Many young people are consuming the World Cup slightly differently from older generations,” he said, adding that they were “not really captured in these figures”.

Ericson said he could not confirm the cost of the TV production for this World Cup.

He pointed to a net cost of $150m for broadcasting of south Africa 2010, saying that FIFA had forecast a 40 percent increase on investment for the 2014 World Cup due to there being 20 per cent more venues and a higher cost base in Brazil.


By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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