FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football) has dipped its toes into the streaming wars by deciding to launch a football version of other OTT platforms, namely Netflix and Amazon Prime.
FIFA has conceptualised the platform to be free and it will be home to several documentaries and live games during its launch. However, the organisation could soon very well begin broadcasting live World Cup matches for a nominal fee.
On their website, FIFA aims to make football global by bringing free football entertainment to fans all over the globe via FIFA+.
From live domestic leagues to other international matches, the platform will also feature live match stats, archival footage, premium original content etc. Over 40,000 matches will be streamed on the platform, with 29,000 men’s matches and over 11,000 women’s matches.
The director of strategy at FIFA, Charlotte Burr has promised a “free experience on FIFA+”. However, she has also announced that the plans might change in the future according to demands.
“There is no plan to charge a subscription fee for the service, that doesn’t mean to say that we may not evolve over time should there be a value proposition that allows us to charge subscription if we step into premium rights or adopt other kind of models,” said Burr.
With the launch of FIFA+, FIFA could begin shifting its original content from YouTube to its own platform to attract more users. It can be vouched by the recent event where FIFA did not stream the FIFA Congress in Qatar on YouTube recently.
FIFA+ aims to provide more coverage to matches that often get lost in the buzz and has a very “strategic” release schedule for the same, according to the chief commercial officer, Kay Madati.
The platform will also feature a host of quizzes, fantasy leagues, votes and predictions, besides Original content.
The first slate of FIFA+ Originals will feature iconic footballers like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Nazario, Lucy Bronze, Romelu Lukaku, Carli Lloyd, Dani Alves etc. From a documentary on Ronaldinho and an eight-part series on six football captains from Juventus, from a feature-length documentary called Croatia: Defining a Nation that focuses on the spirit of union in football to a six-part documentary series on Alves, the newest FIFA+ titles look intriguing and promising.
Netflix and Amazon Prime have been making sports features for quite some time. Netflix, in particular, has focused more on Formula One with Drive to Survive and occasionally on football, with a few documentaries on favourites like Pele. However, with FIFA aggressively moving into the streaming domain, it might become increasingly harder for Netflix to stay abreast of the competition in streaming sports content and retaining viewers for Formula One and Tour de France coverages, given the massive popularity of football as a sport over others.
FIFA+ will be available in five languages, namely English, Spanish, German, French and Portuguese across all devices upon launch and will add six more languages in June.
FIFA+ has launched today.