In 2011, FOX agreed to pay FIFA $425 million for the US media rights to the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments with the understanding that the competitions would be played in the summer.
In an e-mail from FOX to Bloomberg, the correspondence read that:
“FIFA has informed us that they are considering and voting on moving the 2022 World Cup.
“Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s.”
While the general consensus is that almost everyone is resigned to the FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament being moved from the summer to winter due to the sweltering summertime temperatures in Qatar, it’s understandable that FOX Sports is adamant that the tournament be played in the summer. FOX acquired the rights to the World Cup with the understanding that it would be a summer tournament. And by FIFA moving the tournament to the months of November-December, the TV ratings and advertising revenue that FOX Sports would be able to generate would be significantly decreased due to the conflict with major American sports such as NFL and college football.
When World Soccer Talk contacted FOX Sports several weeks ago, the spokesperson declined to comment FOX’s reaction to the speculation that FIFA was going to move the date of the 2022 tournament.
FOX paid more than four times what ESPN paid for the rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments.
FIFA is expected to rubber stamp the decision next month to move the tournament from the summer to the winter.
By awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar despite the warnings of its own organizing committee that the summer temperatures in the country were unhealthy, FIFA has put itself into a corner where it’s extremely difficult to come out of it without upsetting soccer associations, leagues or sports broadcasters.