World Cup Cooling Breaks Will Become FIFA, Broadcast Partner Revenue Opportunity
The first three official cooling breaks have taken place in the 2014 World Cup. The Round of 16 match up between the Netherlands and Mexico featured two such breaks and ESPN stepped away from their broadcast. All the networks that present the games are given the same feed, so it will allow for these television timeouts. These will become another revenue opportunity for those networks and FIFA. This opportunity and the future home of the World Cup means that FIFA could find even more ways to benefit from their biggest event.
The history of the cooling break is actually an injunction processed through a court in Brasilia that allows referees to call for a water break after the 30th and 75th minutes if the temperature is above 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is according to the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index, which takes into account factors such as time of day, cloud cover, wind, humidity and location. FIFA said that no match had even gone above 82.4, so the labor court did not trust them to enforce a rumored rule. There is a fine if FIFA does not allow the breaks.
Of course FIFA and their broadcast partners will find a way to make this profitable, especially with an upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Almost every match would be expected to have the water breaks. When ESPN went to break on Sunday they played Pepsi commercials while the competitor Coca-Cola is an official World Cup sponsor. Does this mean we could see Dasani cooling breaks labeled in the lower left corner of the broadcast before each broadcast partner goes to their ad? It is very likely.
Some will call this a good business move. However, others will say it is bad decision making to put the players in this type of heat from the start. Whichever side you fall on, expect FIFA to take advantage of the situation.