October 21, 2011

Fox Outbids ESPN for 4 World Cups: For a mere $425 million, Fox has won the English-language U.S. TV rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and 2015 and 2019 women's World Cups, outbidding ESPN and NBC. Another $600 million was paid by Telemundo for the Spanish language TV rights and $100 million to Futbol de Primera Radio for radio rights. After losing the bidding, ESPN said in a statement, "We made a disciplined bid."

posted by rcade to soccer at 08:28 PM - 7 comments

I don't know if this is good or bad. I thought ESPN's coverage of the last World Cup was pretty good. But Fox has an entire network dedicated to soccer so maybe their coverage will be better? Hard to say.

posted by insomnyuk at 11:00 PM on October 21, 2011

I can't wait for the glowing soccer ball.

posted by grum@work at 12:02 AM on October 22, 2011

The question is whether Fox is prepared to cultivate a commentariat in the US over the next eight years. That's what's lacking right now -- both the means and the motivation to do decent US-based commentary along with half-time and post-match analysis.

The important thing to note is that Sky doesn't have World Cup rights in the UK, because it's a protected event -- meaning that there's legislation that stipulates it can't be on pay TV -- so Sky Sports' commentators have generally freelanced in the US for ESPN in previous World Cups and European championships. I'd imagine that Martin Tyler is pencilled in for 2014 for ESPN on a freelance basis, but 2018 for Fox as part of his Sky deal.

posted by etagloh at 01:00 AM on October 22, 2011

No Tommy Smythe = Good.

Whatever the network.

posted by owlhouse at 03:04 AM on October 22, 2011

Fox has an entire network dedicated to soccer so maybe their coverage will be better? Hard to say.

Their Champions League pre/post-match stuff hasn't been that good. They need to take a lot of cues from the way ESPN learned from its mistakes in 2006, produced extremely good packages in 2010 and 2011, and will presumably do the same up to 2014.

The Spanish-language rights are still 50% more valuable than the English-language ones, but that gap's coming down: for the 2010-14 package, Univision paid three times more than ESPN.

(In the meantime, FIFA and UEFA are still whining about not being able to take sell chunks of World Cup matches to pay-TV in the UK, so there's no deal in place there yet.)

posted by etagloh at 10:10 AM on October 22, 2011

Agreed about the pre/post match stuff. Fox has been trying to "show" key EPL matches (re-broadcast after FSC) as lead-ins to 4 p.m. NFL games, so it has been trying to establish itself on the main network side.

Grum, I thought the same thing, only with the tail like the pucks when Fox had hockey when the network started in the mid-90's.

posted by jjzucal at 03:19 PM on October 22, 2011

FIFA and UEFA are in a world of hurt if the European court decision this week ruling that EU rules prevent nations from blocking access to broadcasts from other EU broadcasters. This was a bar wanting to show soccer from a much cheaper eastern Eurozone network. If it holds on appeal TV rights fees will drop about 10x.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:04 PM on October 23, 2011

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