FIFA announced today that it has extended U.S. media rights agreements with Fox and NBC’s Universal’s Telemundo through the 2026 World Cup. No financial figures were released.
FIFA is awarding Fox another World Cup.
The sport’s world governing body has extended the deals for its tournaments through 2026 with its American and Canadian partners, FIFA announced Thursday.
Fox adds the rights to the U.S. English-language coverage of the 2026 World Cup to its existing agreement for the 2018 and ’22 events. The 2023 Women’s World Cup is part of the contract as well.
The deals were also extended for Telemundo’s U.S. Spanish-language coverage and CTV/TSN in Canada.
In 2011, Fox won the English-language rights from ESPN, paying $425 million for two cycles.
”These events are some of the world’s most important sports competitions, and it is our privilege to be entrusted with these rights in the United States,” Fox said in a statement, deferring further comment to FIFA.
The location of the 2026 World Cup has yet to be decided, but the tournament could be particularly attractive to the U.S. and Canadian broadcasters with the potential of favorable time zones with an event in the Americas – and possibly in the United States.
”Together, we will be able to further promote football in North America and build on the impressive interest shown by audiences in these major territories during the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of TV, said in a statement.
The 2018 World Cup is in Russia. The 2022 event, in Qatar, is presenting problems for North American broadcasters.
FIFA plans to move the tournament out of the traditional June-July slot to avoid the brutal Qatari heat. A working group plans to recommend new dates at a Feb. 23 meeting in Doha. A different schedule would conflict with a busier time of year for sports in the U.S.
”You go into buying a World Cup and you believe it’s going to be in the same time frame it’s always been,” Fox Sports President Eric Shanks said last year. ”Clearly in America there’s much more competition for ratings points.”
The World Cup has become big business in the U.S. Last summer’s final in Brazil was watched by 26.5 million people in the country between ESPN’s ABC broadcast and Univision, up 7% from four years earlier.