A former head of Chilean football, who may consider a bid to become the head of FIFA, told BBC Sport the matches of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would have to be played late at night to avoid the heat if the tournament is going to be played during the summer.
The 2022 World Cup is on pace to be a complete disaster and changes need to be made. Unlike some of the others, this latest proposed change would be a huge win for the American television broadcasters and American soccer fans.
According to the proposal, the matches (typically three per day during the group stage) would start at 7 pm, 10 pm, and 1 am locally, with the last matches going as late as 3:30 am. For the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, matches started at 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm locally.
If the matches in Qatar were scheduled at the same local time as the Brazil World Cup, they would air at 5 am, 8 am, and 11 am in the US on the east coast (2 am, 5 am, and 8 am on the west coast).
Now all of a sudden, if the matches are moved to the night, games are played in the afternoon in the US, with start times of 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm on the east coast (8am, 11 am, and 2 pm on the west coast).
This would be much better for Fox than the alternative proposal, which is to move the tournament to the winter where there would be scheduling conflicts with NFL and college football games, not to mention the battle for the attention of casual sports fans.
As the former head of CBS Sports put it, “Fox has plenty of broadcast hours available in June and July and not a whole lot of hours available in November, December, January.”
Fox paid about $US425 million for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and has made it clear they want the tournament played in the Summer. However, according to The Telegraph, negotiations have taken place to discuss the possibility of refunding money to Fox and other broadcasters if the tournament does have to move to the winter.
Keeping the tournament in the summer and moving the games to later in the day would be a huge boost to Fox’s ratings and advertising revenue. It would also mean that Fifa could keep all of their broadcast revenue.
Everybody wins. Well, everybody making money in the deal wins.
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