Televisión Española is outlining the details of its broadcasting of the World Cup in Qatar with relevant bets on the table. According to DIRCOMFIDENCIAL, the public broadcaster wants to sign former players from the golden generation of the Spanish national team to commentate matches of the championship, which will be held between 21 November and 18 December. Specifically, according to RTVE sources, it is currently sounding out Iker Casillas and Andrés Iniesta.
The participation of the two former players of the national team that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012, would respond to the firm objective of public television to catapult its audience share through major sporting and musical events, in a context in which it continues to lose viewers and distancing itself from the figures that Atresmedia, Mediaset and the pay channels as a whole are scoring. A strategic line, which the Corporation has been fulfilling in recent months with notable success, with the broadcasting of the Champions League, Eurovision and the Conde de Godó Tournament, among other examples.
The Qatar World Cup is TVE’s next bastion of guaranteed audiences, after reaching an agreement with Mediapro to broadcast several of its matches free-to-air. Specifically, the public channel will cover all the matches played by Spain, the final, the two semi-finals, two quarter-final matches, four round of 16 matches, the opening match and one match from each group in the group stage.
If these possible signings are made, Casillas would add the role that TVE intends to entrust him with to that of commentator for LaLiga in the big matches, with on-site attendance at the stadiums, as the employers’ association announced last week.
The intervention of former players from that generation of La Roja on TVE’s microphones – an option that is still open – would raise the question mark over the continuity of Fernando Hierro and Albert ‘Chapi’ Ferrer as regular commentators.
World Cup returns to TVE 24 years later
TVE is working hard to finalise and close this and other important points of the enormous coverage it plans to offer, 24 years after the last World Cup it broadcast: the 1998 World Cup in France. From 2002, when the then director of RTVE, Javier González Ferrari, announced the decision not to buy the rights to the Korea-Japan World Cup from Vía Digital, the private channels hosted the matches free-to-air.
That year’s World Cup was broadcast on Antena 3; the 2006 World Cup was shown simultaneously on La Sexta and Cuatro; and the last three, the 2010 World Cup -when Spain won-, 2014 and 2018, were broadcast by Mediaset.