Broadcasting the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014

This month, MEI’s editorial director Rachael Church-Sanders reports back from SPORTELMonaco 2012 where Niclas Ericson, director of FIFA TV and Francis Tellier, CEO, HBS outlined the logistical challenges of setting up broadcast operations for the FIFA World Cup with 12 Host Cities spread across the expanse of Brazil. They also discussed the tournament’s role as a platform for broadcast innovations….

Logistically the 2014 FIFA World Cup is shaping up to be challenging. Not only are there 12 venues rather than the 10 found at previous editions of FIFA’s crown jewel event, but the sheer size of Brazil will put a strain on FIFA and host broadcaster HBS as well as other media partners that is unprecedented. “Roads are rarely an option for us in Brazil,” explained Ericson in terms of getting equipment and personnel from A to B, “because we cannot drive between venues like in other recent World Cups. Plus the traffic situation is tough in several Brazilian cities when you get there.”

With production crews set to charter flights within Brazil and move equipment around the country the day before each match in a bid to avoid the sheer volume of travelling fans expected, planning is already underway to make everything run smoothly.

Meanwhile, as far as the stadiums are concerned, despite worries voiced about Brazil’s progress to date in preparing for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke (who was in Brazil at the time SPORTEL was held on an inspection visit), Ericson was more bullish on the subject: “We are confident everything will be held on time,” he said. “Brazil is quick at adding more resources when they are needed.”

In terms of reaching fans during Brazil 2014, FIFA is utilising a four-screen approach, namely television, computers/laptops, mobile and giant screens. “We will be fully multiscreen in 2014,” Ericson explained. “Basically we are aiming to offer all we did before in terms of content but with more information around it. We will see all our media licensees of all sizes exploiting our content across all platforms rather than just on the large ones.”

Ericson revealed that FIFA and HBS tried out several offerings in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup that will be expanded in Brazil. “You will see a more aggressive roll-out of content across all available platforms. We will be able to do much better in 2014.”

Like during previous FIFA World Cups, HBS will be tasked among its other duties with creating content for rights owning broadcasters. Tellier explained: “We want to make as much as possible available to them – not just the matches but also the pre-match build up.” Creation of an evening show that was a successful broadcast offering during South Africa 2010 will be continued in Brazil.

“The day before the match has become increasingly important to viewers,” added Tellier. “There will therefore be more coverage of training at the stadiums for example and we will deliver more non-match programming in general. Our goal is to add more and more content and make it accessible to everyone.”

A plethora of multimedia services are currently under consideration for production by HBS, some of which were made available to rights owning broadcasters in South Africa and will be expanded upon. MatchCasts, video-on-demand and in-match clips, SMS and MMS feeds, white label apps and video players are all potential content offerings as well as data feeds. “Everything will be made available to rights owning broadcasters to make things less complicated for their own production,” explained Tellier.

Two types of app are currently being looked at – those for tablets and those for smartphones. “The bigger broadcasters will do their own apps,” said Tellier, “but the smaller broadcasters may appreciate them and could add their own branding to them.”

The fast-paced world of social media is also on FIFA and HBS’ radar, with some deals set to be “announced soon” according to Ericson. “We expect to have agreements in place with social networks for Brazil 2014 and we will address concerns over protecting intellectual property as well,” said Ericson. “We are confident that our licensees [rights owning broadcasters] will like what they get.” 

Host Broadcasting in 2010 and 2014







2D coverage

64 matches

32 cameras

64 matches

34 cameras

3D coverage

25 matches

8 specific cameras + 2D

In review

ENG crews with teams



Other ENG crews





Close to 3,000

Source: FIFA/HBS

Additional information