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Fifa opens video archive to serve fans in isolation

Fifa has opened up its match archive across its owned and social media channels and is allowing broadcast partners access to archive rights to fill their schedules during the Covid-19 outbreak.

A #WorldCup@Home social media campaign will offer fans the ability to vote to watch more than 30 games from the Fifa World Cup and Fifa Women’s World Cup in full – the first time any of the matches have been available online.

The governing body said the large-scale digital campaign is designed to compensate isolated fans for the lack of live sports content during the crisis.

Fifa has already invited fans to vote on which matches they wish to see from the 2014 Men’s World Cup and the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The men’s match will be shown in full on Saturday and the women’s match on Sunday.

The organisation plans to generate significant amounts of social media engagement around the premiere of each game and turn them into appointment-to-view events akin to a live match broadcast.

“Additional engagement opportunities will also allow the community to interact with live chat on YouTube. Votes for favourite moment of the match across various Fifa social media channels will further re-simulate the live match experience, while documentaries and interviews with famous football players and coaches will further deepen the content inventory,” said a Fifa statement.

Separate to the social media initiative, Fifa said it is also working to allow its traditional broadcast partners access to archive rights they wouldn’t otherwise have to assist in filling their schedules.

As a result, pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports is this week showing a different match from the 2018 Fifa Men’s World Cup every night in France.

“Both the #worldcup@home and archive rights initiatives have been received extremely well so far. This is really about helping out football fans,” Fifa chief commercial officer Simon Thomas told SportBusiness.

“They’re at home in the midst of a worldwide health crisis and facing an absence of live sport and we want to bring football into their households. It’s also about supporting our broadcast partners as they face a very challenging business environment, so now is not the time to be focusing on financial return.”

Fifa has no major events scheduled in what could be the worst of the crisis this year. However, it has agreed to delay the inaugural staging of its revamped Club World Cup in China next year to accommodate the new dates for the European Championship and Copa América national team tournaments.

The governing body said fans will be able to access the content via Fifa.com, via the Fifa YouTube channel, with full details of the inventory being made available on the Fifa Twitter account and supporting competition social media channels – @FifaWorldCup and @FifaWWC – on a daily basis.

Today (Friday), the French Professional League (LFP) also gave its French pay-television broadcast partners, Canal Plus and beIN Sport, access to a host of archive content for free following the postponement of the league due to the Covid-19 outbreak.