FIFA and Apple close to $1 billion TV deal for new tournament — what we know

Federico Valverde (L) of Real Madrid CF and Josko Gvardiol (R) of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final second leg match
(Image credit: Federico Titone/Anadolu via Getty Images))

FIFA, soccer's international governing body, wants to put on a World Cup-style tournament featuring 32 top club teams from around the world. And Apple TV Plus could be the place to watch it, if talks between Apple and FIFA work out.

As reported by the New York Times, FIFA is close to finalizing a deal with Apple that would give the company global rights for the tournament. Based on the Times reporting, a deal could be announced before the end of the month.

Reportedly, the deal could be worth $1 billion, far less than the $4 billion that FIFA expected. Details are scarce on whether this club tournament would stream exclusively on Apple TV Plus or if it includes free-to-air rights. Still, given Apple's interest in live sports for its streaming service — Apple TV Plus currently includes Major League Soccer matches as well as a weekly Major League Baseball doubleheader — you'd imagine Apple TV Plus could be the exclusive home for the Club World Cup.

The 32-team tournament is scheduled to start in June 2025. It would feature  club teams from Africa (4 teams), Asia (4), Europe (which gets 12 teams), North America/Central/Caribbean (4), Oceania (1 team), and South America (6 teams). 

FIFA has been trying to get some version of this tournament off the ground for years. The last big stab was supposed to take place in China in 2021. COVID delayed and then put an end to that version of the tournament. Supposedly both broadcasters and sponsors have been reluctant to commit to FIFA’s asking prices. So, this might be a last gasp for FIFA president Gianni Infantino to even get this tournament to be reality.

If this deal goes through, it will be the first time that FIFA locks itself into a single global contract for viewing. 

Soccer has proven to be a popular form of content for streaming providers looking to steer eyeballs (and subscriptions) to their services. Peacock currently has the streaming rights to English Premier League fixtures. Paramount Plus currently has the rights to the UEFA Champions League. 

Both Apple and FIFA declined to comment to the New York Times on any potential deal negotiations. 

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.