Ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, soccer’s governing body FIFA is launching a free streaming service.
The organization says FIFA+ will provide access to thousands of live and archive matches, news and tournament information and a suite of original series from the likes of Fulwell 73, Andrew and Stuart Douglas, and England striker turned broadcaster Gary Lineker’s Goalhanger Films.
FIFA claims this makes it the first sports federation to offer such an extensive streaming service, with the organization’s President Gianni Infantino saying it represents “a cultural shift in the way different types of football fans want to connect with and explore the global game”.
The service launches today in five languages (English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish), with an additional six following in June. At launch, it’ll be available on web and cellular devices, with other connected devices following.
By the end of 2022, FIFA claims the service will be streaming “the equivalent” of 40,000 live games per year from its 100 member associations around the world, comprising 29,000 men’s and 11,000 women’s matches.
FIFA says this live coverage will comprise games from European leagues such as the Danish Superliga, Polish Ekstraklasa and Slovak Fortuna Liga previously unserved competitions from around the world in men’s, women’s and youth football,” according to the federation.
From launch, around 1,400 matches will be streamed live, though this is will be “rising rapidly.”
FIFA+ will also offer every FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cup match recorded on camera, totalling more than 2,000 hours. The archive will launch with more than 2,500 videos dating back to the 1950s.
According to FIFA+’s Head of Content James Marley, FIFA has the underlying rights to all archive games sanctioned through its organisation.
The service will also offering original feature documentaries. Docuseries, talk shows and shorts and is acquiring exclusive shows, which will be badged as FIFA+ Originals. Marley told Deadline he is encouraging producers with narrative soccer ideas to contact him.
Its year one line up will include
- Captains: Season 1, which is an eight-part series from Sunderland ’Til I Die producer Fulwell 73 that follows eight international captains (Croatia’s Luka Modrić, Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Vanuatu’s Brian Kaltak, Jamaica’s Andre Blake, Lebanon’s Hassan Maatouk and Brazil’s Thiago Silva) leading their teams through qualification for December’s Qatar World Cup 2022.
- Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World, a 90-minute film from directors Stuart and Andrew Douglas, producer Bernie Goldmann and Simon Horsman and Jeffrey Soros of the Los Angeles Media Fund about the dramatic rise and then unexpectedly fast decline of the Brazilian attacking midfield legend, who is considered one of entertaining and talented players of all time. Current soccer superstar Lionel Messi is among the contributors.
- Croatia: Defining a Nation, a feature-length doc from Louis Myles (Liverpool FC: The 30-Year Wait) about how soccer has united the nation, which was losing finalist in the 2018 World Cup, and how a group of friends from the nation became global stars in the face of extreme adversity.
- HD Cutz is an eight-part series from MOTIF Pictures and Fever Media and sees barber to the stars Sheldon Edwards talking to the likes of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger over a trim.
- Dani Crazy Dream follows Brazilian defender Dani Alves – soccer’s most decorated player ever – as he tries to make the World Cup 2022 squad. Alves’ Maracanã Media produces the six-part show.
- Golden Boot is a 4×48-minutes show from Goalhanger Films (Wayne Rooney: The Man Behind the Goals) and sees company owner Lineker interviewing the likes of Brazilian great Ronaldo
- Icons, a five-part docuseries about five game-changing women players (Wendie Renard, Lucy Bronze, Asisat Oshoala, Carli Lloyd and Sam Kerr) and is from Finding Jack Charlton producer Noah Media Group.
- Academies is a three-part show from Shoot the Company about RSC Anderlecht’s youth development operation. Further series will focus on different teams.
FIFA+ will also offer a ‘Match Centre’, comprising football database, daily news, interactive videos, quizzes, games and predictors.
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