Man United expects FIFA to cash in from streaming platforms

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, left, celebrates with teammates Juan Mata, center, and Alexis Sanchez after scoring his side's first goal during

Manchester United expects FIFA's $12 billion Club World Cup plans to spur competition between streaming platforms and produce a broadcasting windfall.

FIFA is looking to transform its low-key annual seven-team competition into a quadrennial event featuring 24 clubs.

President Gianni Infantino has told football executives he has a global consortium of investors willing to underwrite a combined $25 billion in revenue for both the revamped Club World Cup and a new Nations League for countries to contest every two years.

While the traditional World Cup, played every four years, is typically aired by major national broadcasters, revenue for the new competition formats could be delivered by the increasingly-influential over-the-top platforms, including Amazon and Netflix.

"It supports the view that OTT platforms will be the future of content consumption," United vice chairman Ed Woodward said Thursday, reflecting on recent talks with FIFA officials about Club World Cup plans.

"Live compelling content will be a key battleground that influences which (platforms) are successful, and for whichever way the rapidly evolving media landscape unfolds, content generators are uniquely placed to be the beneficiaries. As such we believe live sports content will become increasingly more valuable in the future."

FIFA is forecasting $3 billion in revenue for each Club World Cup in a 12-year cycle, with about $2 billion shared among the 24 teams.

Three-time European champion United will hope to contest the first edition if FIFA overcomes resistance from European governing body UEFA to play the new-look tournament in 2021.

It would be played in June or July every four years and include 12 European teams, including the Champions League finalists and Europa League winners from the previous four seasons.

If a club qualified on merit multiple times, entries would then be allocated according to a UEFA ranking system, typically led by storied and successful clubs.

One of Infantino's top FIFA aides, deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban, backed away from reports that clubs could be invited to compete if they had won multiple European titles.

"It's just speculation," Boban said Wednesday. "It has to be (qualification) on merit."

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Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

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