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After 2018 own goal, FIFA opens World Cup TV sale in Italy

January 14, 2021 GMT

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) — FIFA invited offers on Thursday for its 2022 World Cup broadcast rights in Italy, where a late-struck deal for the previous tournament ended up losing around $100 million in value.

FIFA said potential bidders have a deadline to register interest of Feb. 16 -- more than five weeks before European qualifying groups for the World Cup begin. Most of the 2022 broadcast deals in major markets worldwide were signed years ago.

Four years ago, the Italian rights were not sold before the national team was eliminated in the 2018 World Cup qualifying playoffs by Sweden.

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A deal was made one month later with broadcaster Mediaset for a reported 78 million euros (then $93 million), at around half the value of the 2014 World Cup rights.

Even with a shortfall in expected revenue from Italy, FIFA earned $3.13 billion in broadcasting deals during the 2015-18 commercial cycle, with $920 million from Europe.

Italy is top-seeded in its 2022 qualifying group and faces Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

The group winner in November qualifies to play in Qatar. The runner-up advances to a two-round playoffs bracket scheduled in March 2022.

FIFA also invited offers on Thursday in a separate process to sell Italian broadcast rights to the 2023 Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

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