Apple TV Plus could soon take another big shot at soccer with landmark FIFA deal

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of SSC Napoli and Jurrien Timber of AFC Ajax Battles for the ball
(Image credit: Getty Images / DeFodi Images)

Apple and FIFA are reported to be close to signing a deal for a brand-new soccer tournament that will take place next summer. The tournament will apparently be exclusive to Apple TV+ subscribers, and it’s unclear if any matches will be aired free-to-view.

According to the New York Times, the deal could be announced within the next week or so. The event will be held in the United States from June 15 to July 13, 2025, and will feature some of the world’s best club sides, including around 12 from Europe.

The NYT says FIFA was hoping the tournament “would create huge demand from broadcasters and commercial partners. But a combination of poor planning and delays prompted broadcasters to balk at the figures FIFA had sought.”

Sponsors have reportedly been hesitant to spend the $150 million FIFA wants to charge for sponsorship packages, and the total value of the deal might be less than a quarter of the $4 billion FIFA had initially hoped for, the report claims.

A long list of concerns

Apple TV Plus logo on a mobile phone that's sitting on a laptop showing some Apple TV originals

(Image credit: SOPA Images)

Numerous concerns have apparently been raised about the tournament. For one thing, it doesn’t even have a name or a definite list of host cities yet, despite being only a year away from launching. For another, it will require large stadiums to be leased for the duration of the event; however FIFA has not revealed any major sponsorship partners who might be able to cover the costs.

It’s unclear exactly who this tournament is meant to benefit. Club teams already have a congested annual schedule, with high-profile managers and players repeatedly complaining that the number of games they’re required to play is increasing the risk of injuries. Players unions have also criticized FIFA for not consulting them during the tournament planning.

If the tournament does end up as an Apple TV+ exclusive, it means people will have to fork out to watch the matches in every single case, with no options available free of charge or on any of the other best streaming services. That’s a move that's sure to rankle many viewers, and some senior executives at FIFA have also raised concerns about that prospect, the Times reports.

With just over a year to go before the event is due to kick off, it looks like there are still huge gaps in the planning of the tournament, with so much still up in the air. If you were thinking of subscribing to Apple TV+ to catch every game, you might want to hold off until more details are announced.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.