The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the highest governing body of international soccer, has launched digital platform FIFA Plus with plans to stream 40,000 live games per year.
Variety reports that the games will be from 100 FIFA member associations and will include 11,000 women’s matches. Live coverage will range from Europe’s topflight leagues to previously unserved competitions from around the world in men’s, women’s and youth football. From launch, 1,400 matches will be live streamed monthly on FIFA Plus, rising rapidly.
Ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the platform aims to be home to every women’s and men’s World Cup match ever recorded, totalling more than 2,000 hours of archive content. The FIFA Plus archive will launch with more than 2,500 videos dating back to the 1950s, with many more to be added.
The platform is available globally across all web and mobile devices, and a range of connected devices soon, initially in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish editions, with Mandarin, Bahasa, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Arabic and Hindi editions to follow in June.
“Our 100% focus is on reach, we can’t achieve our development ambitions and our business model if it isn’t extending reach,” Charlotte Burr, FIFA Plus lead, said at a presentation event for the platform.
The platform is free at the moment, operating on an AVOD model, but there could be a subscription fee going forward. “We’ll be strategically extending – so we will be potentially going into gaming, social community, and potentially subscription depending on where this goes and where the industry disruption heads,” Burr said.
The Qatar World Cup games will not stream live on FIFA Plus. “There is no plan to have premium World Cup live rights on the platform today,” Burr told Variety.
A key component of FIFA Plus is a slate of originals featuring full-length documentaries, docuseries, talk shows and shorts, localized into 11 languages, telling stories from local grassroots to national teams and soccer heroes from more than 40 countries.
Titles available at launch include “Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World,” a documentary featuring the globally popular player; “Captains,” a series following six captains — Luka Modrić (Croatia), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Brian Kaltak (Vanuatu), Andre Blake (Jamaica), Hassan Maatouk (Lebanon) and Thiago Silva (Brazil) — as they lead their countries through qualification for the 2022 World Cup; and
“Croatia: Defining a Nation,” about how soccer binds the nation.
The originals slate also includes “HD Cutz,” a docuseries with barber to the stars Sheldon Edwards talking food, fashion, music and soccer; “Dani Crazy Dream,” a docuseries featuring Dani Alves, the most decorated player in history as he tries to make it to the 2022 World Cup; “Golden Boot,” a series on the greatest World Cup goalscorers; “Icons,” showcasing five of the biggest game-changers of the women’s game: Wendie Renard, Lucy Bronze, Asisat Oshoala, Carli Lloyd and Sam Kerr; and “Academies,” the inside story of some of the greatest talent production lines in world soccer.
There are active conversations going on with streamers to create content for FIFA Plus and other platforms, FIFA officials said.
“FIFA Plus represents the next step in our vision to make football [soccer] truly global and inclusive, and it underpins FIFA’s core mission of expanding and developing football globally,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino. “This project represents a cultural shift in the way different types of football fans want to connect with and explore the global game and has been a fundamental part of my Vision 2020-2023. It will accelerate the democratization of football and we are delighted to share it with fans.”