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A winter Qatar 2022 World Cup audience could add £12m to UK TV ad industry, claims ZenithOptimedia

Fifa’s proposed winter World Cup 2022, designed to dodge Qatar’s blistering summer heat, could see a TV advertising boost for UK broadcasters, according to data from ZenithOptimedia

Following football’s international governing body Fifa pitching moving the competition to winter in a bid to combat Qatar’s through-the-roof summer temperatures, ZenithOptimedia researched just how much the new competition could raise in UK TV ad revenue.

The media agency stated that the UK’s cold, dark winter nights typically see viewing figures 15 to 20 per cent higher than in June and July when the competition is usually held. It added that the dour British climate will cause a drop in viewers visiting pubs to catch the game, increasing the likelihood of at-home ad retention where there will prove to be fewer distractions.

ZenithOptimedia claimed: “Demand from advertisers will also increase as the last quarter of the year is the most important for most advertisers, as consumers prepare for Christmas, and airtime prices are significantly higher in winter than they are in summer.

“ZenithOptimedia estimates that a winter World Cup would generate an additional £50m in UK TV adspend, which would not otherwise be spent in 2022, compared to £38m for a summer World Cup.”

The firm concluded that the delay would inevitably increase the value of the World Cup to broadcasters by £12m.

Of course, the increase in TV ad revenue comes at the expense of having to interrupt or move the already established winter football fixtures. Broadcasters BBC and ITV, which jointly own the rights to the 2022 World Cup, currently do not air English Premier League football fixtures and will therefore face minimal disruption.

Broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport which purchased the rights of the Premier League in a deal worth £5.13bn until 2018 may find themselves facing difficulties if they have to facilitate a move of the footballing season in 2022 if they choose to renew their possession of the TV rights.

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