As we exclusively revealed last week, FOX Sports has won the US English-speaking media rights to the European qualifiers for Euro 2016 and FIFA World Cup 2018. But in a new development, announced by FOX Sports today, FOX has a sublicense arrangement with ESPN where both networks will split the games 50/50.
FOX teaming with ESPN is nothing new. In the past, FOX Soccer has sub-licensed Premier League matches to ESPN to allow the ‘Worldwide Leader In Sports’ to show EPL matches on US television.
Qualifying matches for the UEFA EURO 2016 begin in September 2014, while 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers begin in September 2016. FOX Sports and ESPN each have rights to over 270 matches total for both cycles. Each package includes:
- 129 UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifiers (Sept. 2014 – Nov. 2015)
- 129 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (Sept. 2016 – Nov. 2017)
- 15 international friendly matches over the term (2014-2018)
ESPN, the UEFA EURO 2016 rights holder, plans to offer its more than 270 qualifying matches across ESPN networks – ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN3. ESPN has also attained highlights rights for studio programs including SportsCenter, ESPN’s new daily soccer program ESPN FC on TV and ESPN FC. During the UEFA EURO 2016 qualification cycle, ESPN has first selection from each week’s pool of games leading into its tournament coverage.
Qualifying matches for the UEFA EURO 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup are slated for carriage across several FOX Sports platforms, including FOX Sports 1; FOX Sports GO, launching this summer; FOX Soccer Plus; and FOX Soccer 2Go. During the World Cup qualification cycle, FOX Sports has first selection from each week’s game pool leading up to its coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Today’s announcement is good news for soccer fans. What’s your opinion? Have your say in the comments section below.