DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA expects to earn $11 billion through 2026 with a 48-team men’s World Cup in North America set to deliver a big rise in revenue.
The four-year budget was presented Friday to the ruling FIFA Council which foresees almost 50% raise in income mainly tied to broadcasting and sponsor deals for the men’s World Cup, plus ticketing and hospitality at a tournament which will use several NFL stadiums.
FIFA typically makes conservative budget estimates and ends up overshooting targets.
The $7.5 billion revenue announced in Qatar last month for the 2019-22 commercial cycle was $1 billion more than the forecast budget.
There is also uncertainty over exactly how many games will be played — and sold to broadcasters — at the 48-team World Cup.
FIFA’s council agreed in January 2017 to have an 80-game format with teams playing in 16 round-robin groups of three teams each ahead of a 32-team knockout bracket. The 2022 tournament, which ends when Argentina play France in the final on Sunday, has 64 matches.
The new format was agreed to help accelerate development of soccer in countries which rarely qualify for the World Cup. That was despite FIFA’s own research advising that the highest quality games would be delivered by the current 32-team format used since 1998.
However, FIFA officials have this year suggested a 104-game format with teams playing in 12 groups of four before the 32-team knockout stage. That would likely add several days to the previously expected 32-day tournament.
FIFA is weighing changes despite already signing some major broadcasting deals, including to U.S. English-language broadcaster Fox and Qatar’s beIN Sports across the Middle East and North Africa.
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