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FIFA TV Broadcast Official Pays Visit to University

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2018 - 12:00 PM All News , Business

A senior executive from FIFA, the worldwide governing body for association football (soccer), visited Western New England University recently to speak to students about the development and explosive growth of the FIFA World Cup, the one-in-four-years spectacle seen by nearly half the 7 billion people on the planet, with a billion viewers tuning in for the 2018 World Cup Final alone. Bar none, the World Cup Final is the single most-watched sporting event in the world; by comparison, the 2018 Super Bowl drew a global audience of about 150 million viewers.

Hidenori Arai, deputy director for FIFA Broadcast Marketing, made the point to students that FIFA’s vast consumer base, between TV viewership and social media platforms, enables it to reap extraordinary revenue from domestic broadcasters, on the order of $3.5 billion each for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar. For the U.S. broadcast rights, Fox Sports and Telemundo paid $1.025 billion for this year’s and the next upcoming World Cup.

While the Big Five professional sports – NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS – boast impressive television broadcast deals, Arai said that when analyzed on a per game/match basis, FIFA generates far and away more revenue – in excess of $50 million – than the major leagues per game/match. Arai acknowledged, however, the strength and importance of the U.S. market, noting that the U.S.-hosted 1994 World Cup remains the record setter for total attendance at 3.6 million, with a per match average of 69,000, which bodes well for the 2026 World Cup to be staged principally in the United States, along with Mexico and Canada.

Arai’s visit was arranged by Professor Curt Hamakawa, director of the Center for International Sport Business (CISB), who said “I am grateful to Mr. Arai for making the trip from FIFA Headquarters in Zurich to spend the day with students talking about his experiences and career in broadcast marketing.” Arai’s appearance was the 29th in the CISB’s “For the Love of the Games” program series, sponsored by the Western New England University Alumni Association.