ITV and the BBC will continue free-to-air coverage of the Fifa World Cup through to and including the 2022 tournament after an announcement made shortly after midnight today.
The deal was close, and was pretty much expected, however confirms the 2018 and 2022 tournaments won’t end up (partially at least) on pay tv. The shared agreement between the two channels goes back to 1966, the tournament which England won the World Cup.
Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport said: “The excitement building on the eve of this summer’s tournament in Brazil demonstrates how the World Cup offers a shared, collective experience for people across the UK.
“So we’re thrilled to be able to look forward to bringing the next two World Cups free to air to viewers in 2018 and 2022.”
The 2014 World Cup takes place in Brazil and ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley broke the news on air during the Honduras v England game last night in Miami just after midnight. ITV kick start their World Cup coverage on Thursday with the opening ceremony and match. Adrian Chiles leads the team with pundits including Glen Hoddle, Lee Dixon, Ian Wright, Gordon Strachan and Andros Townsend. Commentators include Clive Tyldsley, Sam Matterface and Joe Speight.
The BBC’s coverage begins on Friday with Gary Lineker leading their coverage with punditry from the likes of Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Rio Ferdinand and Clarence Seedorf. Commentators include Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Simon Brotherton, Jonathan Pearce and Steve Bower.
BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: “We are delighted to have secured the rights to one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“It is fantastic news that the pinnacle event in world football will continue to be available free of charge for everyone in the UK.
“As we prepare for kick-off in Brazil we hope viewers at home will enjoy watching it as much as we will look forward to broadcasting it.”
There will be a World Cup preview on the pitch as well as broadcasting wise from ATV Sports Editor, Callum Patterson, ahead of the World Cup.