The Qatar 2022 World Cup officially kicks off on November 20 and will be closely followed throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
This will be despite the fact that only three countries from the region – Poland, Croatia and Serbia – made it to the finals of the competition and that it will be held in what most football fans believe to be “the wrong time of year”.
What is more, earlier this month the former Fifa president Sepp Blatter claimed that choosing Qatar as the host was a mistake and down to political pressure from France’s then president Nicolas Sarkozy. He went on to say that the world football governing body’s preference for 2022 was actually the US.
In Poland, the public broadcaster TVP will offer viewers all 64 games on its two flagship channels TVP1 and TVP2, as well as on the thematic service TVP Sport. They will also be shown on tvpsport.pl, the TVP Sport mobile app and on smart TV. Furthermore, TVP will re-launch its Ultra HD channel TVP 4K especially for the event. It will be distributed terrestrially on what is a test multiplex currently being used by the public broadcaster, as well as by several satellite and cable operators including Canal+, Vectra, Orange, Toya, Inea and T-Mobile.
Local reports say that TVP also hopes to set a new record of 1 million online viewers for a sporting event, the current one being held by the Poland v Spain game in Euro 2020.
Meanwhile in Croatia and Serbia, the tournament will be shown by the public broadcasters HRT and RTS respectively. In Croatia, it has nevertheless been reported that Qatar 2022 will be much less lucrative for the country than the last World Cup in Russia in 2018, when at least HRK2 billion (€265 million) poured into the local economy.
When all is said and done, Qatar 2022, despite the controversy surrounding it, will still be a major spectacle and attract a global audience. In CEE, it will certainly boost the viewing figures of all the public broadcasters covering the competition.
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