Revelations about the 2026 World Cup bidding process are raising concerns. The Daily Mail is reporting that FIFA will earn bonuses of $302 million from North American broadcasters ($182 million alone from Fox) if a joint bid from the U.S., Canada and Mexico wins the 2026 World Cup. The host has not been chosen, but that clause is raising questions. Morocco is the only other bidder for 2026.
This money would be on top of what the official broadcasters are currently paying for 2026.
NBC, which has the Spanish language rights for Telemundo, would be slated to pay $115 million. Canadian broadcasters would be required to pay an extra $5 million.
FIFA had beIN Sports, the home rightsholder for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, agree to pay an additional $100 million before the vote for that tournament if the country was indeed chosen as the host. The Daily Mail says there’s nothing illegal about these payments.
FIFA told the newspaper about those bonuses, contending that they are in line with common business practices:
“Specific contractual details pertaining to business relationships maintained by FIFA with its media rights licensees are subject to confidentiality clauses, which is in line with commonly applied business practices.”
What FIFA is saying is that a home World Cup would be worth more for the broadcasters and should be paid as such. Fox and NBC were awarded the rights to the 2026 World Cup without a bid shortly after Qatar was chosen as the host country. FIFA reportedly did so to avoid a lawsuit for scheduling the World Cup in November 2022, as opposed to July.
It’s not known if FIFA has required the same of a Moroccan broadcaster for the 2026 tournament, but this is a way for the organization to get more money for rights.