Filming at the FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup is arguably the most famous sporting event in the world. But what goes into filming the competition? Who holds the rights? And if you want to report on a game, what’s the process of application? In this guide, we look at what goes on behind the scenes and find out that if you want media accreditation, you’re in for a long wait…
The FIFA World Cup is an international football tournament that has become the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, with the next upcoming World Cup competition hosted by Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014.
All filming and photography of matches and other World Cup events has been undertaken by FIFA since they brought all broadcast operations in-house in 2007. This means that FIFA is now responsible for the sale of broadcast rights and development of the archive footage, alongside client servicing and overall decisions on production and event operations.
Consequently, many of the pressures of filming live football have been removed from individual broadcasters and media representatives - all that's left to contend with is the raft of administrative, logistical and legal processes involved in applying for media accreditation, and negotiating and securing media licences and utilising content supplied by FIFA.
FIFA undergoes a tender process to establish a general contractor who is responsible for the delivery of the broadcast of every game and event in the World Cup calendar.
It is the role of the broadcaster to film all the World Cup matches, the rights to which are sold on to media outlets which have been selected as ‘media rights licensees’.
For the 2014 World Cup, Sony has been selected to fulfil this role as broadcaster. The company has subsequently announced that it will use 340 HD cameras, 48 switchers and 816 monitors to film the matches.
Sony will also work with third party companies such as Riedel for the intercom solutions; Audio Broadcast Services (ABS) and Lawo equipment for the audio mixing consoles; EVS Broadcast Equipment for the multi-media servers; Gearhouse Broadcast to provide the Technical Operation Centres and HBS to assist with host broadcasting matters.
Anyone who wishes to attend the FIFA World Cup as a member of the press or media (working for non-rights-holding broadcasters) must apply for accreditation from the FIFA Media Channel. But be aware: the media accreditation process begins several years before the actual World Cup event. For example, the deadline for accreditation applications for the 2014 World Cup was in May 2011.
Members of the press who can apply for this form of accreditation are, for example, print and magazine journalists from popular national or international publications (e.g. The Daily Mail). Once an application has been made, the applicant’s details will then be reviewed by FIFA and the local organising committee.
If you work for an organisation that has been selected as a rights-holding radio and/or television broadcaster (referred to by FIFA as a ‘media rights licensees’) then there is a separate accreditation process that is serviced by FIFA’s Broadcaster Servicing Team. See below for further information about the benefits available to this group.
Services available for approved Media Rights Licensees
For those broadcasters and agencies that qualify as media rights licensees (e.g. the BBC or Al Jazeera), FIFA works to ensure that they are well looked after and given access to all the services necessary for covering the World Cup tournament.
Access to FIFA Representatives
Media Rights Licensees pay a lot of money to get access to footage from the World Cup matches, so if you are lucky enough to be in this position you should expect personal communications with a FIFA Broadcasting Services representative, both in the run up to the World Cup event and at the tournament itself, in order to ensure that the rights package you have agreed to is honoured.
The International Broadcast Centre
Media rights licensees have access to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), a temporary hub for broadcasters established to assist press and media with their coverage. The World Cup IBC's are substantial - for example, during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the IBC contained 179 broadcasters from more than 70 countries who had on-site productions.
FIFA provides media rights licensees with a package of graphics and animated sequences to use for promoting each World Cup event. This package is intended to provide a uniform visual presentation of all World Cup coverage, and assist with FIFA’s branding.
FIFA also issues television coverage reports, which provide detailed statistics to help give licensees an idea of the worldwide reach of each televised match.
The full list of those broadcasters who have been accepted as media rights licensees in 2014 can be found here.
Bringing cameras in as fans
Finally, just a note about casual filming within the World Cup matches or events: filming for personal use is allowed by FIFA and fans are permitted to take cameras into the stadium. However, anyone filming footage that will be broadcast or will be disseminated publicly will not be allowed.