Press Review - April 2023

Gianni Infantino threatens Women’s World Cup broadcast blackout in Europe
  after “disappointing” rights offers

Due to offers considered "unacceptable" by Gianni Infantino, FIFA has still not found broadcasters in most major European countries, including France, for the next Women's World Cup (20 July-20 August).

  With less than 100 days before the kick-off of the Women’s football World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Infantino said the offers from broadcasters in Italy, Germany, France, the UK, and Spain “are still very disappointing and simply not acceptable. […] Should the offers continue not to be fair, we will be forced not to broadcast the FIFA Women’s World Cup into the ‘Big 5’ European countries.”

  The FIFA’s president also underpinned the gap in terms of broadcasting rights between the men’s and women’s football: “The viewing figures of the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 50-60% of the men’s FIFA World Cup, yet the broadcasters’ offers in the ‘Big 5’ European countries for the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 20 to 100 times lower than for the men’s FIFA World Cup. Finally, and concretely, whereas broadcasters pay $100-200 million for the men’s FIFA World Cup, they offer only $1-10 million for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is a slap in the face of all the great FIFA Women’s World Cup players and indeed of all women worldwide.

  FIFA has expanded the tournament format to 32 teams and bet on selling the media rights separately – no longer in a package with the men’s World Cup. The FIFA president attests that the revenue will be reinvested in the women’s game in its entirety and “public broadcasters in particular had a duty to promote and invest in women’s sports”.

A multi-year global partnership to link World Rugby and Gallagher

World Rugby and Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services company, announced a multi-year global partnership, establishing Gallagher as an official partner of women’s rugby and the Rugby World Cup 2025.

  As part of the partnership agreement, Gallagher will be an official partner of WXV in 2023 and the new three-tier annual global women’s competition featuring 18 teams in 2024.  Gallagher will also be the funding partner of the High-Performance Academy, “a fully immersive development and leadership program established by World Rugby and Gallagher with the stated mission of increasing the prominence of female coaches and other high performance roles at elite levels of the sport that will have a lasting impact on the women’s game”, World Rugby’s statement says.

  The statement adds that this will include a focus on talent identification, professional support, and championing the next generation of international level coaches as World Rugby looks to raise standards on and off the field, underpinning a more competitive game on the road to the Rugby World Cup 2025 and beyond. The aim of this program is to improve the standards of women’s rugby around the world by developing existing coaching talent and identifying new women coaches and other high-performance roles. England, Australia, and the USA will be the main territories targeted by this program, “to mirror the host locations for the next three women’s Rugby World Cups”, before making the program truly global.

  We are extremely proud to partner with World Rugby and to provide a pathway for women aspiring to work at elite levels of the sport through Rugby World Cup, WXV and the Gallagher High Performance Academy. Gallagher has deep roots within rugby and a rich history in sports partnerships, sharing the core values of driving high performance through teamwork, integrity, inclusivity, respect and professional excellence”, Gallagher Chairman, President and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr, says.

DAZN launches ‘Combat’ and ‘Women’s Football’ FAST channels

DAZN Group has announced, on May the 2nd, the launch of two new global FAST channels: DAZN Combat and DAZN Women’s Football.

  DAZN Combat will show live boxing events as well as re-runs and documentaries that celebrate the best boxers, from DAZN’s portfolio of boxing including Matchroom Boxing, Golden Boy and MF & DAZN: X Series and combat sports including the PFL Archive, Ansgar Fighting League, Naciones MMA, Muay Thai for Life, Primetime Wrestling, KOK, MMA Bushido, and Dream Boxing.

  DAZN Women’s Football aims to be “the perfect destination for any women’s football fan, bringing them to the heart of the game and offering elite competitions”, including the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL), Finetwork Liga F, as well as archives, behind-the-scenes access, and highlights of the best moments. DAZN adds that the channel will also show documentaries, including ‘EQUALS’, “a six-part documentary series putting viewers one-on-one with some of the top stars in the women's game like never before”.

  Veronica Diquattro, CEO Global Markets DAZN said: “DAZN is the home of women’s football, boxing and fight sports globally. We are committed to increasing the global presence of these sports in markets across the world and the channels will help even more sports fans have greater access to top-tier sports rights across the globe. We already have an impressive rights portfolio of global rights properties in non-core markets and the global FAST channels highlight our commitment to provide frictionless, anytime, anywhere sports entertainment to passionate fans.

MLS embraces artificial intelligence in terms of detection

Major League Soccer (MLS) has partnered with technology company in the hope to be able to “identify and reach every kid playing soccer in North America”.

  Proving access to the opportunity to be scouted by MLS for free through the use of computer vision and artificial intelligence is the main purpose of this agreement. The process works as follows: “Under the new virtual trial program, players can download’s AiScout product and complete a series of assessments and drills in any backyard, field or open space via their mobile phone. The app will analyze players’ ability and, through a fully connected platform, MLS will be able to evaluate players via the data generated. Players who score highly will be offered a chance to train with MLS at events across the US and Canada”, MLS’s statement indicates.

  MLS adds that this program will be available in December 2023 in the United States and from January 2024 across the world. “MLS’ goal is for’s technology to eliminate barriers such as cost, geography, and time commitment that traditionally limit the accessibility of talent discovery programs.”

  We think it’s a tremendous addition to our youth efforts. The whole MLS team bought in very early. I think democratising a process here is largely what this is about [and] get some data upfront for the scouts. Any player has the opportunity to say ‘look, I’m good enough and someone’s worth having a look at me’. Even from their garden they can now provide that data upfront. If the numbers are good enough, they’re going to get that opportunity. They can take some ownership of it. I think that certainly transcends across all of football. But it transcends across all of sport, particularly team sports. Every team sport has this problem not just football”, Richard Felton-Thomas, chief operating officer and director of sports science at AiScout, adds.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's highest paid athlete in 2023, according to Forbes

With $136 million in revenue, Cristiano Ronaldo was the world's highest paid athlete over the past year, according to the annual Forbes rankings. Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé complete the podium.

  In the period between 1 May 2022 and 1 May 2023, the total revenue of Cristiano Ronaldo was more than around $136 million. “Ronaldo nearly doubled his salary when he moved to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on a new contract estimated at $75 million. A look at his income breakdown though, shows his off-field earning generating more than his on-field earnings – $90 million against $46 million”, comments. As the world's most followed athlete on social media (850 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), Ronaldo's off-field earnings ($90M) are nearly double his on-field earnings in 2022 ($46M), thanks to his portfolio of sponsors. Lionel Messi comes second with an estimated income of $130 M.

  In third position in the ranking is France and PSG star Kylian Mbappe. He is not only the youngest athlete in the top 10 but the only one under 30 years of age. While his off-field earnings are $20 million, his PSG salary is a whopping $100 million”, adds. Los Angeles Lakers winger LeBron James ($119.5 million) and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($110 million) complete the top five.