FOX secured the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, beating out bids from ESPN and NBC submitted this week in Switzerland, it was reported Friday. A FIFA official told The Associated Press that FOX won the US English-language rights for 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar).
With the new pact, FOX will also broadcast the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cup and will have the rights to all other FIFA events, including the U-17 and U-20 games, from 2015 through 2022.
The 2010 Men’s World Cup drew the most US viewers ever for the tournament. ESPN announced that broadcasts averaged a 2.1 rating (2.29 million households and 3,26 million viewers), a 31 percent increase over 2006. The final between the Netherlands and Spain was the most-watched men’s World Cup game by viewers (15.55 million).
“We made a disciplined bid that would have been both valuable to FIFA and profitable for our company, while continuing to grow our unprecedented coverage of the World Cup and Women’s World Cup events,” ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said in a statement. “We were aggressive while remaining prudent from a business perspective.”