Zug, Switzerland - With two days to go before the Opening Match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, one of sport’s biggest and most complex host broadcast operations in television history is entering its key final phase.
Infront Sports & Media, the company exclusively responsible for the worldwide marketing and sales of the broadcast rights to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, has made the event more widely available than ever before. There will be the highest number of broadcasters in the history of the FIFA World Cup™ and coverage provided in virtually every country of the world.
Coverage will reach more than 200 countries and territories with a projected cumulative viewing audience of 32.5 billion (a 10 percent increase compared to 2002). For 2006, there will be more than 500 broadcast partners including 240 television licensees, a record number of 220 radio stations and more than 50 New Media Licensees (Mobile Telephony and Internet). By comparison, the 2002 event was transmitted by 300 broadcast partners.
Distribution has been handled on an open-market basis, offering viewers unprecedented variety and choice in how they watch the event and an exciting array of production advances to add to their enjoyment.
Infront has achieved these record results through “layering” different television offerings for the various markets worldwide. The event will be shared between a broad range of distribution platforms, offering viewers a variety of options. Infront has contracted with two or more broadcasters in 120 territories.
In the top television markets Infront’s marketing strategy has led to further impressive results, e.g. three Free-TV (ARD, ZDF, RTL) and one Pay-TV agreements (Premiere) in host country Germany, two Free-TV (TF1, M6) and two Pay-TV (Canal+, Eurosport France) agreements in France, and four Pay-TV (Bandsports, DirecTV, ESPN do Brazil, Globosat) and one free TV (TV Globo) agreements in Brazil.
As a result of Infront's focus on radio rights, radio coverage of the FIFA World Cup™ is becoming increasingly important as a category of the overall broadcast. The 2002 FIFA World Cup™ was the first time that radio rights were offered independently and separately from television. The 2006 event continues with this expansion, further acknowledging the growth in radio and its importance as a communication medium.
In Germany, Infront has signed radio agreements with ARD and RTL Radio Vermarktung. Around 80 regional and local radio stations will ensure record radio coverage in the host country. Interest shown by French radio broadcasters is also very encouraging: Infront concluded five radio agreements in this market. 24 radio stations complete the multiple broadcast partner list of Brazil.
New media coverage of the world's greatest sports event is set to reach new standards. In 2002, new media coverage of the FIFA World Cup™ was limited to the official FIFA website and trial transmissions to mobile phones in Japan. This year 2006, fans will be able to receive near-live coverage of the most dramatic and decisive moments of all the 64 matches on their mobile telephony devices or their home computer. More than 100 territories are covered by a New Media license.
Following the outstandingly successful host broadcast of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, this is the second World Cup host broadcast in private hands – a break from the past when this function was handled by the world’s television unions. Infront’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Host Broadcast Services (HBS), is charged with the task of delivery.
2006 will be the first FIFA World Cup™ produced exclusively in the high definition (HD) 16/9 widescreen format and will be the first major international sport event to commit fully to the format of the future and to showcase it on a significant scale.
All 64 matches will be produced in HDTV and made available in both high and standard definition (SD). While the majority of broadcasters will still broadcast in SD 4/3 the demand for widescreen format and HDTV gains momentum.
Several Broadcaster Partners will pick up the state-of-the-art HD feed produced by HBS and HDTV will be featured in more than 70 territories worldwide, including host country Germany (Premiere), France (TF1, M6), United Kingdom (BBC, ITV), Italy (RAI, Sky Italia), USA (ABC, ESPN), Canada (Rogers Sportsnet), Brazil (TV Globo, Bandsports), Mexico (Televisa, TV Azteca), Japan (Japan Consortium, Sky Perfect), South Korea (KBS, MBC, SBS), and China (CCTV).
HBS produces 2,200 hours of host broadcast coverage, as opposed to 1,200 hours for Korea /Japan 2002, filmed by a total of 170 cameras. Super feeds will include specific team and player coverage to help broadcasters tailor their offering to a national audience at home. 25 HD cameras will capture every moment and nuance of every match.
This exciting multi-feed concept provides broadcasters with tremendously enhanced scope, enabling them to provide the kind of coverage that - in the past - would have only been available to large broadcasters with sizeable on-site unilateral production operations.
Dominik Schmid, Infront’s Executive Director Broadcast Operation said, “As kick-off approaches, it is clear that the worldwide distribution has been successful and very much on target, in terms of its financial predictions and its ambitions for wider coverage and more viewer choice. Thanks to this marketing success and the most innovative host broadcast operation to date this year’s FIFA World Cup™ will show its potential as a round-the-clock, round-the-world experience.”