Soccer fans are cheering after FIFA, the international governing body for the pro sport, launched its own streaming service for live games, match replays and original documentaries on Tuesday. FIFA+ is available for free now on the web and mobile devices, but it’s still not clear whether it will eventually charge for the biggest matches.
The service will initially stream 1,400 matches every month, according to the sports federation, including many from its six professional international confederations in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The service will also cover men’s and women’s youth soccer from around the world. Original programming will include a documentary on Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho, a docuseries that features the greatest goal scorers during the World Cup, and another docuseries on influential female soccer players.
In the months leading up to the World Cup held in Qatar this November, FIFA+ will also feature games from its historical archive, which includes every FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup match.
FIFA did not specify whether the games from this year’s World Cup will be available to stream on the service, or if they require premium charges. Viewers in the US will otherwise have to watch the World Cup matches on cable networks Fox and FS1, which are available on paid streaming services including Hulu or Sling TV. The matches will also stream live on the Fox Sports app.
Beyond the World Cup, soccer fans in the US struggle to keep up with ongoing soccer matches from the European leagues, since are games only sparsely available via a few outlets including CBS Sports and Paramount+.
FIFA+ may serve as an alternative source for soccer viewers, although matches from the biggest and most popular teams aren’t on the streaming service yet. For now, FIFA says it is “focusing on matches from “previously unserved competitions from around the world.”
That may change in the future as the streaming service could possibly adopt a paywall for certain events like the World Cup or European football.
“There is no plan to charge a subscription fee for the service, [but] that doesn’t mean to say that we may not evolve over time should there be a value proposition that allows us to charge subscription if we step into premium rights or adopt other kind of models,” Charlotte Burr, FIFA director of strategy, told ESPN. “But there will always be a free experience on FIFA+.”