Jul 7, 2019; Lyon, FRANCE; United States forward Megan Rapinoe (15) hoists the World Cup trophy and celebrates with teammates after defeating the Netherlands in the championship match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 at Stade de Lyon. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer’s world governing body is jumping into the world of digital streaming with FIFA+, which launched today.

The free, ad-supported digital platform will at first showcase mostly archival content from FIFA’s deep library of international matches, although eventually there will be some live matches (availability likely dependent on location and various territorial rights agreements) and original documentary content as well. Notably, though, there won’t be World Cup matches available.

From Alex Ritman at The Hollywood Reporter:

“We will be evolving continually to a point when we get to the World Cup, so at that point, we really will be able to showcase what FIFA+ is about,” said Burr, adding that the platform will be the “companion experience to the World Cup.”

At launch, FIFA+ will include around 3,000 clips taken from the FIFA archive, which Burr describes as a “deepest, richest” archives of the sport in existence, with every World Cup match ever filmed also available on the platform by the time the competition starts.

“This is stuff that has never been seen before and it’ll be highlights, it’ll be localized commentary, it’ll be full games going back to the 1930s,” she said, adding that there should be around 2,000 hours of archives on FIFA+ by the World Cup.

Assuming FIFA can follow through on the technical side, the appeal of having such a large archive of international matches and highlights in one spot is certainly obvious. With the men’s 2022 World Cup approaching (and the women’s 2023 World Cup following shortly after) it’s obvious why now is the right time to launch this kind of effort.

The live match element will, at first, be pretty limited:

Live matches are also a significant part of the offering, with FIFA claiming that the equivalent of 40,000 live games — from 100 member associations and including 11,000 women’s matches — will be streaming each year. Due to existing TV and streaming rights agreements, these will be mostly limited to territories with lesser-known and underserved international leagues in countries such as Angola, Denmark, Mexico and Poland. In the latter territory extensive media rights do exist, but FIFA has been able to exploit the available digital rights.

That feels like an ambitious plan. But even if the live streaming element of the service never really pans out, if this means you can easily pull up older World Cup matches and highlights for free, there’s a real utility there for fans.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.