Fox Sports unveiled its game plan and official TV schedule for its coverage of the 2018 World Cup this summer in Russia. Despite not having the U.S. team in the mix this year — nor world powers Italy and the Netherlands, for that matter — Fox said it will air 38 games live on the broadcast network, more than the previous four World Cups combined and the most ever for an English-language network.
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.
Telemundo is officially taking over the U.S. Spanish-language broadcast rights to FIFA soccer events beginning in 2015 in anticipation of the 2018 Soccer World Cup, giving it a lock on arguably the most important televised sporting event for U.S. Hispanic fans. Previously, the Spanish-language broadcast rights were held by Telemundo rival Univision, which carried the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Watching World Cup soccer may not be a basic human right. But leaders across the world recognize that a lot of people view it as such, and that makes the World Cup a political opportunity.
The world’s largest sporting event kicks off today, All 64 soccer matches will air in English in the United States on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Univision and its associated networks — UniMas, Galavision and Univision Deportes — will broadcast the games in Spanish. Here are some media questions and answers heading into the World Cup.
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo is taking a victory lap for its World Cup acquisition back in 2011 during the upfront this season. Sitting in the driver’s seat during that lap is newly announced network president Luis Silberwasser. The company paid some $600 million for the rights to broadcast the most-popular global sports event in Spanish; now it’s shooting the works on promotion as the next contest approaches (this year’s FIFA World Cup will air on Univision, but it’s soon enough that the network is changing emphasis to its newly purchased U.S. soccer rights).
Fox and other broadcasters have bought the rights for the world’s largest sporting event under the assumption that it would be held in June and July, as it has been since 1930. The network doesn’t want to move the Qatar World Cup in 2022 to winter because it would clash with NFL games. FIFA wants to move the tournament due to extreme heat in Qatar during the summer months.
The soccer association has lost an appeal against a European ruling that the World Cup and Euro Championships should be shown on free-to-air TV in the United Kingdom.
A FIFA official says Fox has won the U.S. English-language television rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with the Spanish-language rights going to Telemundo.