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FOX Wins World Cup TV Rights in U.S. for 2018 and 2022, Says Report

FOX has won the English-language TV rights in the United States for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, says several sources.

UPDATE: FOX and Telemundo, combined, paid more than a staggering $1 billion for rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, according to Reuters. FOX paid $425 million for English-language rights for the U.S. market, while Telemundo paid $600 million for Spanish-language rights. ESPN reportedly bid $400 million for the English-language rights. The $425 million paid by Fox compares to $100 million paid by ESPN for the rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments, while Univision paid $325 million.

“FIFA has informed the bidders and is planning to announce the winners at some point today or early next week,” says SBD. “The decision to award the rights to FOX is a shocking development, since incumbent ESPN was widely believed to be the front-runner to retain the World Cup rights.”

This is indeed a shocking acquisition by FOX since ESPN was favored after the impressive job they did with the coverage of the 2010 World Cup.

UPDATE: ESPN has issued the following statement:

“[ESPN has] 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. We were aggressive while remaining prudent from a business perspective.

“ESPN remains committed to presenting the sport of soccer at the highest level across our platforms with coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship, English Premier League, La Liga, MLS and other top leagues and tournaments, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”

UPDATE: FOX Sports says they have no comment regarding World Cup negotiations at this time.

According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN paid $100M in 2005 for an English-language package that included rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. FOX picked up rights to all FIFA events from 2015-22, including the men’s World Cup in 2018 and 2022; the women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019; and all U-20 and U-17 games.

If the reports are true, then this is a major blow for ESPN but a massive coup for FOX. The 2018 World Cup will be hosted in Russia, while the 2022 tournament will be in Qatar. Both tournaments won’t feature kick-off times as convenient as the 2014 World Cup, but this is still a huge opportunity for FOX to continue to grow its soccer empire in the United States across FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Broadcasting Company, FX and

In the past 12 months, FOX has shown Champions League Final matches and Premier League games on FOX, the free-to-air network. If the World Cup reports are true, then we can expect to see more soccer coverage on FOX Broadcasting Company.

As for ESPN, this is a devastating blow. Considering that ESPN has now lost their TV rights in recent years to FOX for the Champions League and World Cup, it’ll be fascinating to see if this will force the “Worldwide Leader In Sports” to bid more aggressively to win other future TV rights deals such as when the rights for the English Premier League open up for bidding again. Or ESPN could throttle back on their coverage of soccer and continue its focus on other sports instead. With the TV rights for MLS set to expire at the end of 2014, this could be worrying news for America’s top soccer league.

In other news, EPL Talk is hearing reports that Telemundo has won the Spanish-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments on US TV. That means that ESPN’s legacy of covering the World Cup tournaments from 1994-2014 will be coming to an end, while the end is near for Univision’s coverage of the World Cup, which it has been broadcasting from 1978-2014.

What’s your opinion regarding the news? Share your opinion below.

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  1. Connie

    August 5, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I have always detested listening to the drolling on of JP Dellacamera and one of his sidekicks, Balboa. I just turn the sound completely off or I find a spanish channel to listen to if I can’t get the european commentators. You’d think you’d get the commentators who’ve been doing this for years in Europe. They know what they are talking about most of the time. I met Delacamera back in the 80’s and then listening to him is like raking your nails down the chalkboard. And Balboa is an idiot. He needs to grow up and if he wants to comment, he needs to be more objective regarding the game and the players and the referees. When he speaks, you know exactly what kind of a human being he is, not a nice one that’s for sure, arrogant and obnoxious. Delacamera is not a soccer commentator, I never understood soccer hiring him for commentating. He really is inept.

  2. Dave see

    October 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Maybe the landscape will change in several years but I think it’s a major blow for soccer in the USA. The World Cup has grown in popularity each tournament and has become more accepted as the great event that it is. And like it or not–ESPN’s coverage and more importantly, it’s availability has a lot to do with it. Soccer fans like us will always know where to find soccer. But I know a lot of people that the only soccer they follow is the World Cup. And ESPN is an easy place to find it and the only place they know where to find it. Have any of these people heard of Fox Soccer Channel or Fox Soccer Plus? Are any of them going to find a game that’s airing on FX? There’s no way. ESPN with its ease of access and ability to promote the tournament on its other programming gave the game this chance to grow. If I put on Facebook that I’m watching Man U v Liverpool on ESPN3, some of my World Cup soccer friends will actually tune in. This doesn’t work if I say the game is on Fox Soccer channel or Fox Soccer plus. I just can’t see how Fox overcomes that especially with so many of the soccer channels being in the premium packages. And if people can’t find it they lose interest and soccer’s credibility and ability to grow a fan base goes down.

    Hope Telemundo turns out ok too. I don’t have cable (and didn’t have access to ESPN3 at the time) so I watched a lot of the 2010 World Cup free on Univision’s website which was great Mexican announcers and all.

    • The Gaffer

      October 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Good points Dave, but if you told your friends on Facebook to watch some World Cup games on FOX and FX, would they tune in to those channels instead? FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus are more niche channels, but FOX and FX are readily available (as well as local FOX Sports regional channels).

      The Gaffer

      • Dave see

        November 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        I really hope they can pull it off but it is going to be a massive undertaking to get the eyeballs for the advertisers to make this work for them. With ESPN’s long commitment to the World Cup and more importantly to the US Men’s National team I think they’ve almost become synonymous with the tournament and MNT. I guess maybe we’re getting a peak into Fox’s strategy showing a couple of Premier League games on FOX free to air this year but to rebrand the whole tournament + MNT from ESPN to FOX especially after 20 some years of ESPN carrying it–wow, wow, wow.

  3. lefteris

    October 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I am not sure if I am sad that ESPN lost their soccer rights… I will not forget few years back when ESPN had the rights on the champion league rights and they would cut a game short because a baseball game would start, or they would not go on showing a game that went on overtime (it was a champion league knock out phase game) because they didn’t want to disrupt their regular programming and not show a bullfight film!! Screw ESPN.

    • Fog

      October 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      And which Fox channel do you work? Fox over ESPN? When was the last time you compared the two?

      From EPL Talk May 22, 2008:

      “So much focus is put on the Champions League Final and what happened during the game that it’s often easy to overlook the admirable job that ESPN2 did behind the scenes yesterday.

      Their production was excellent and what I was most impressed by is that they continued the coverage all the way through until after Man United lifted the trophy. They could have easily cut away and gone to regular programming, but they kept the coverage going. This is definitely a positive sign that soccer carries more weight at ESPN. And it’s also a reassuring sign that the network will provide an exemplary experience this summer for ESPN’s coverage of Euro 2008.”

  4. RT

    October 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    They should hire Robbie Savage for the booth.

  5. dlink04

    October 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Fox paid ridiculously amount for WC.. they better improve there coverage, if not they will not recover even the half the amount they paid…

    • Fog

      October 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Don’t worry. They will make up for it by showing their ads at the bottom of the screen with more frequency.

  6. nickp

    October 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    If Fox uses a soccer playing robot graphic for the World Cup

    • riphamilton

      October 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      even worse…. if they dare to use the NFL on FOX theme for the world cup like they’ve done with MLB (including the world series)….

      the old world series and all-star game music:

  7. SSReporters

    October 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Ian Darke’s contract runs out with ESPN just as FOX gets the influx of FIFA tournaments.

    Just a thought. I have a feeling ESPN is about to be taken to the cleaners by FOX a lot more than just today.

    • dlink04

      October 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      seriously lol

  8. bumko

    October 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Unfair comparison. The Champions League is a foreign tournament with no american teams involved. It is really of not much pertinence to the general american sports fan ( ESPN’s target audience ). You can’t really expect it gets the same treatment throughout ESPN’s various platforms as the local/national sporting interests.

  9. richardfromnyc

    October 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I , for one, think that this is good news. What will be funny is how much coverage, if any, ESPN will give to World Cup in 2018 and 2022…probably more deriding & snickering comments from Sportscenter announcers.

    And as pointed out – this will be 7 years from now. I doubt that the current FSC roster will be working on World Cup in 2018….they most certainly will revamp their coverage.

  10. JW

    October 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Just look at how espn treats the Champions League NOW without having its rights: barely a mention across any of its platforms except for MAYBE the final. That’s my big worry about it all. I think we’ll all get to see all the games, live, no matter who does the broadcasting now– there’s just no way Fox backs off that. But not having America’s main source for sports (like it or not) feel obligated to push soccer anymore is a worry.

  11. DempsyISFulham

    October 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Oh I also forgot about how in 2006 ESPN didn’t show the team lineups, players walking out & lining up, national anthems for any of the games except USA games & the World cup final, maybe Semi’s as well…I can’t remember everything as it was 5 years ago…the point is it took ESPN a while to get to the great coverage they had in 2010 South Africa…remember that before you act like Football is dead in this country now because it will no longer be televised on ESPN in the USA

  12. DempsyISFulham

    October 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Though I was hoping ESPN would win the rights as they did a wonderful job broadcasting the 2010 world cup this isn’t as bad as news as most people are saying…first off it is 6 years before the Confed Cup & 7 years before the World Cup & a lot can and will change in that time…the on air talent will probably be different then it is now and fox soccer will be in HD on all cable networks by then….also Fox will probably have a better internet service for watching the games in 2018 then they do now…yes ESPN did a great job with the 2010 world cup but everyone is forgetting how bad a job they did with the 2006 event…remember they had the announcers calling games from the studio is Bristol and remember how bad a announcing team Dave O’Brien & Marcelo Balboa were…Oh & don’t you guys remember Brent Musburger hosting the pre-game for the world cup final in Berlin, the only time ESPN broadcast any live programing from Germany?…So I doubt this is the doomsday scenario everyone is suggesting…Maybe this is the wake up call ESPN needed & will lead to ESPN creating a 24 hour soccer network to compete with Fox soccer

  13. Hack

    October 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    How different would have the World Cup bidding have been if the 2018 or 2022 WC was going to be in the states.

    • Fernando

      October 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Probably $500 million alone on just the US tournament. We can only dream though…

  14. Mark Stevens

    October 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Fox Soccer: half Cobra Kai/ half Terminator: T1000 soccer killing machine with the undying head of Eric Wynalda

    ‘Really?’ Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (TV Edition) –

  15. David

    October 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Holy Cow….$425 million for Fox, $600 million for Telemundo…

  16. David

    October 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Seven years is a long time away, so Fox has plenty of time to work things out.

    I think the main thing with ESPN is that they weren’t going to pay top dollar because of the locations- if England and the US were the hosts for these WC’s no way they let it get away from them. Fox has a history of overpaying for sports rights in the US, going back to 1994 when they outbid CBS for NFL coverage by a then-amazing $100 million a year. I wonder what the numbers will be- maybe in the $250 million range?

    MLS has to be sweating a little- if ESPN decides to cut back on their soccer they could be in a bit of trouble when the league tries to renew the rights with them in a year or two- they might have only NBC Sports Network in the end when it comes to national coverage….

  17. Fairchild

    October 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Tough hit for ESPN. It won’t sound the same when the TV ads say watch the World Cup on Fox/FX/FSC. ESPN has a flow to it, they had it down, but they had the UCL covered and we can all agree that Fox has really stepped it up as far as coverage of that competition is concerned. Lets keep our hopes up and hopefully Ian Darke and Martin Tyler will still be available to broadcast for Fox during these World Cups.

  18. Ryan Sandidge

    October 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    This seems like horrendous news, but we have to consider that these are tournaments 7 years from now. If Fox really is commited to being the premier source for footy in the US, which this deal suggests, then certainly they will step up their coverage. I consistently cringe at the ameteur mistakes during Fox Soccer programing, but the fact that they are taking this world cup bid should hopefully give us confidence that this signals a desire to improve their standards. If Christian Miles is still the point man for a community college level of execution on EPL Sundays in 7 years time, then I will be worried.

  19. Ivan

    October 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm


    This is beyond the topic of Fox being awarded the World Cup coverage (we can all agree that the company is owned by Ruppert Murdoch, one of the most despicable creatures on the face of planet earth).

    I have DirectTV, and as of yesterday, they started running some a scary ticket on the bottom of the screen on FX and Fox Soccer. The contract between Fox and DirecTV is about to expire, so, as of November1, unless the parties come to an agreement, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, FX, etc. will be taken off the air for all DirecTV subscribers(probably 1/3 of the readers of this blog).

    Holy cow! No Premier League in 10 days! No bueno!!!

  20. Fernando

    October 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    ESPN had a landmark achievement with last year’s World cup coverage. It may never be as good that ever again.

    However, ESPN neglected its duties when they had the Champions League for a long time. Their coverage of this tournament was a joke and I think that’s something that gets lost when praising them. They have the expertise to deliver programming on a high level. Take away the prestige though and ESPN would rather put the USMNT on ESPN Classic in every game aside from US VS Mexico.

    Fox’s issue is that their production values and commentators have been abysmal. They have changed half of that equation but it remains to be seen how they can deliver something amongst all of their properties. is a product that is not perfect and will be vital to delivering a 360 degree experience.

    We have seven years to wonder what Fox will do and what they can get right. I do know ESPN has been dealt a big morale buster. In the end money talks, Murdoch knows how to outbid.

    • jerryjones

      October 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      how was espn coverage of the champions league a joke??? Dont know which one you saw but, ESPN had derrick Rae and adrian healey as their own commentators, and also had their press pass pundits for before, and after games and also had a weekly champions league show. Dont know where your argument comes from, but their coverage was really good. Everytime you have Rae as a commentator, your coverage will be class.

      • Fernando

        October 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm

        Rae & Healy were decent announcers but so are the ones Fox uses from the UK feed. That’s not the issue.
        The issue is that Fox has devoted itself to showing multiple games during the group stages whereas ESPN would show one each day.

        All of the knock out games are shown on Fox properties whereas ESPN for a long time picked one tie to show every other day. The issue is access, ESPN wouldn’t run everything and Fox does.

        I don’t like the studio people at Fox but ESPN never had studio people at all. I don’t recall ESPN being down on not keeping the Champions League. As of today they are.

        • jerryjones

          October 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

          difference is fox really dosnt show any champions league games on their free channels. so to get the champions league games you need to pay more for fox soccer, fsn and plus. yes they only showed one live game on tv but it was free, and you could watch any champions league game on for free. espn showed one match for every match day, so saying every other day is un true. espn has always had studio people with press pass, and they even did small segments before games, so I dont know what you were watching but it wasnt espn…..
          yes fox uses international feeds, and that is downer. its not the same thing as having your own commentator that you feel is really communicating with the audience vs the international feed they just commentate and thats it. Its about time fox gets their own commentators. why not have a good commentator as jp delacamera do some premier league or champions league games with the best pundit that fox has and day by day had less tv time in Bobby McMahon. What fox has done to McMahon says a lot about their aspirations. The best pundit the channel has and doesn’t use him. You have delacamera and mcmahon, they could form a good partnership. But fox needs to have their own commentators…..
          its ok to have martino and wynalda for us soccer and some european games, but you need people that have played in europe and know how it is. as of this day espn is miles ahead of fox. what will happen in 7 years i dont know, but as of today there is no argument that espn is top of the table

          • The Gaffer

            October 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

            ESPN doesn’t have any free channels. FOX shows the Champions League Final on FOX Broadcasting Company, their free-to-air network.

            I think it’s only fair that we, as soccer fans, have to pay to watch the coverage we want. FOX is paying massive amounts of money for the rights to these games, so they can bring them to us. If we’re big soccer fans as we say we are, then paying for the right to do so is no problem by me. This isn’t a charity.

            The Gaffer

          • Fernando

            October 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm


            I would expect someone of your caliber to know how cable works. As The Gaffer rightly stated, ESPN is not free. In fact ESPN is the reason your cable is expensive because they charge the highest rates of any cable channel to all the cable companies. That is neither here or there.

            The question of access is my point, FOX give us more games, which is what we want. ESPN did not.

          • jerryjones

            October 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

            espn is not a premium channel. so that is why i said it was free. you can get it on a basic package. fox soccer is a premium channel. and we are not talking just about the premier league viewers, or us true soccer fans. We are talking about a great audience that will be watching the world cup. and if you are going to make everybody pay extra to watch world cup games then it donsnt work. that is my point….and i used to watch champions league games on for free. you cant do that with fox soccer…..
            its ok we all have our own opinions, but honestly i only watch game on fox soccer and then switch channels, and it shouldnt be that way, its not the complete experience. cheers

      • DempsyISFulham

        October 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

        All these people talking about how ESPN’s Champs League coverage was great must of only been watching Champs League the last 2 years that ESPN showed the games…yes towards the end they started to show more games though they would show one live game on Tues & Weds & one tape delayed game at 5pm on ESPN classic (however they would show the scores of the games on the sports ticker so you would know the outcome)..they also started to have the press pass pundits come on before & after games (usually though only once the knockout stage started)…they also had the announcers at the stadiums which was really nice…though if you had been watching the Champs League for years & years before that on ESPN it wasn’t like that…they would show one game Tues & Weds and that was it…Since the Champs League moved to Fox it has been way better. Tons more games to choose from & don’t have to worry about spoilers…yes they could upgrade their pundits (Bobby McMahon needs to be their lead pundit for all studio shows)…other then that not much complaints from me I don’t mind them using the UK feed as I like listening to the British announcers know more about European club football then any American commentator would know

  21. Shannon

    October 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    SEVEN YEARS. A LOT will change. What we have right now as far as coverage and how it’s done will be significantly different in 2018.

    If they were going to switch over -tomorrow-, I would understand the outcry, but we have no clue where things will stand in 7 years.

    • jerryjones

      October 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      fair enough. but compare fox when they started with their soccer coverage, to now. Thats the way I’m looking at it. And there isnt much difference. Thats what scares me

      • Shannon

        October 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

        And that’s a great point. I’m just hoping the more and more money they spend and push into coverage will eventually be a reward for to the loyal viewers. With the fact that they’ve worked on improving their existing coverage (as detailed on this site), I’m hoping they’re on the right track.

  22. jerryjones

    October 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    can you really compare the class that bob ley is and his knowledge of the sport, with the likes of cristian miles??????? disgusting reall.y. even mike turico, a guy that has never been interested in soccer, got the call for the world cup, prepared his a.. off and really did an awesome job. compared to miles that has been on fox for years and still lacks any knowledge of the sport and only reads a teleprompter. Its really worrying. The only good pundit that fox has is wynalda and costigan.i honestly think costigan could become a good live commentator. but who knows.

    • The Gaffer

      October 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      I think Bob Ley is fantastic. The broadcast team at FOX will look very different by the time World Cup 2018 kicks off. There’ll still be some of the players that are there now, but FOX can go out and buy talent.

      The Gaffer

      • jerryjones

        October 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

        If I were fox, I would grab Bob Ley and make him the face of the channel. He will be in Brazil with Espn, but after that Fox would make huge strides by getting him on board. You take Miles out and put Bob Ley in his place, and I believe Ley will make everybody else better and make their shows more attractive.

  23. jerryjones

    October 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    this is terrible terrible news for soccer fans in the usa. lots of people dont really understand how bad this is. hasnt the champions league, epl, etc coverage on fox told you anything yet? it is the most cheap and unconvincing coverage of a sport ive seen in the world. Yes I still watch it, cause its the only way i can get my soccer. But the “pundits”, showing international feeds, lack of direct communication with where the game is played, etc. Does this mean that during the national anthems, fox will cut for commercials? Does it mean that fox will bring back andy gray and richard keys? Both of whom were sacked by sky. Does it mean we will have to listen to the international feed, instead of having martin tyler or ian darke having direct dialogue with the us audience while commentating the match? If my memory is not wrong, espn has never used international feeds and have always used their own commentators, for epl, champions league, womens and mens fifa events, and this goes for espn deportes as well. I mean fox is not for this. How many years have they been on the air and they havnt made much progress, apart from new graphics, new set and new audio that is used for every single show on the network. Hasnt the coverage of the biggest game in club football told you anything? For the biggest game of the year they have included an nfl player and an nfl commentator to it, and the coverage is brutal, terrible. Im really sad by this news, to be honest. Can we really compare the espn soccernet pundits with the fox soccer pundits? Nobody can do sports like ESPN dosnt matter if you like them or not, the truth is they are the best in the business. They were slowly getting more and more soccer tv rights. In fact they were planning to change espn classic into a more soccer related channel. And this will undoubtedly be a huge blow for them. I really hope they dont give up, and try to get the full rights to the epl and other leagues, the copa america, european cup. And like somebody mentioned, how is fox going to deal with the premiums? Right now only Fox bc and fx are free. fsn, fox soccer, and plus are premiums. If fox keeps the premiums on their channels for the world cup, man that will create havoc. anyway, its a really sad day, nobody will ever do a coverage of the world cup like espn just did a year ago. only espn can make it better in 2014.

    …….. on the other hand, telemundo getting the rights to the spanish audience is a really good move. Most hispanics hate univision and how they broadcast sports. They are 90% directed to one audience and thats the mexican (univision is owned by mexico). Telemundo is more open to the whole hispanic community. Even their commentators are from different parts of latin america, compared to univision were every single one is mexican. So its a good move to have telemundo host the world cup.

    • The Gaffer

      October 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      I think the jury is still out on FOX’s coverage. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They have 7 years before their World Cup 2018 coverage even starts, so there’s plenty of time to plan ahead for an A+ production.

      I would argue that FOX’s Champions League coverage has been fine. They’ve made improvements. Eric Wynalda has done a spectacular job as a pundit, and there’s now far more Champions League coverage than ever before when ESPN had the rights.

      The Gaffer

      • jerryjones

        October 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        yes gaffer, but first of, we have to pay for those channels. Like you said wynalda has become a really good pundit. But apart from him who else? Barton is not that good….. How many years has fox done the epl games, and they still dont have a live commentator doing the games from the ground. Espn has two years doing epl matches, and since day one they had Jon Champion and then replaced him with Ian Darke. Can we really compare an espn premier league game with any fox game?? no contest. I know they have 7 years to prepare, but from what we can see week by week, its very very poor compared to any coverage espn makes, even mls game. I dont like andy gray, but why not bring him now, and have him do the epl games or at least commentate on them on goals on sunday. Whenever steve nicol is not managing the revolution, espn grabs him for the soccernet show. Why cant fox do the same with somebody else? Paul Dalglish works for the dynamo, and he is a good commentator of the sport, why not bring a guy like him? To close it out, Fox needs to change or add more things than what they already have.

        • The Gaffer

          October 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

          Right now, do we (the fans of the Premier League) really care that the studio analysis from FOX Soccer isn’t as good as it could be? I would love the analysis to be much better, but it’s not. So I end up watching the games and I know when to fast-forward (or, if I’m watching it live, turn the channel). Some of the analysis is good, but I’m not tuning into Fox for the analysis. I’m watching the games.

          Seven years from now, things will hopefully be much better.

          The Gaffer

          • jerryjones

            October 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

            cmon gaffer how can you say that. of course its part of the experience of watching a game. And having good pundits that give good opinions towards different subjects is what makes or breaks the coverage. I wish we could have MOTD here in the states. Having a quality channel that is based on sports its not just about showing the game and thats it. You know how much more audience fox could have if they had better programming and better pundits? Loads. I know when I watched the world cup on espn, sometimes i became more interested in the different ideas that roberto martinez and macca had towards games and teams. and this should always be the case for every game, channel, and network.
            and again I know in seven years many things can happen, but as things stand right now, its not good enough, and its strange that you dont agree with it.

  24. Bentley

    October 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Man i feel for my friends in the States that have to deal with this. It has to be some unwritten rule that American soccer coverage has to suck. Whether its world cup or league. It absolutely MUST be terrible and totally unreasonable.

  25. john

    October 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Hate this. Still waiting for FSC in HD on Comcast in Pittsburgh. Hoping they get their act together by then but not counting on it. Thought ESPN did a great job with the WC and like their weekly EPL showing.

  26. BD

    October 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is just disgustingly awful news. GREAT. More Wynalda and Sullivan, two of the most inept commentators spewing their nonsense on the airwaves right now. ESPN’s coverage of the Prem matches is miles (not Christian, another cardboard personality) ahead of FOX Soccer.


  27. Up the Chels!! In Chicago

    October 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Right on the heels of a negotiation battle between Directv and Fox.

    Gaffer, you should write up a post about this, Directv subs are on the verge of losing all of the fox soccer networks and about 18 other fox channels on November 1st if they can’t come to an agreement by then!

    • chris

      October 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      i just saw that post on sportsbusinessdaily about that, i cant see dtv letting that happen since so many bars and homes and the like rely soley on fox’s soccer package to watch the games. from what i saw it looked like fox was trying to force a 40% increase in fees from dtv and their customers and they said f*ck you we aren’t agreeing to that which is completely fair. I just hope this gets resolved very soon and fox needs to realize that their coverage is nt all that great atm and paying an increase on a price that is already high is unreasonable

  28. Neye123

    October 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

    ESPN should pick up EPL coverage in the US and show more games & FOX can keep WC>

  29. Bob

    October 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

    does this mean ESPN wont put as much effort into the 2014 world cup?

    • Matthew Reed

      October 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

      no way, they paid for it and I would be shocked if it wasn’t even better than 2010. This is ESPN, they will not half ass it.

  30. Chris

    October 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

    earl, the counter to that is ESPN made the WC 2010 available on every platform and every game was available online through and i believe the only ones that weren’t were the ones that were on ABC ota. ESPN can
    t devote a lot of time to it to be fair cause they don’t have any rights to any of the major events to televise them… Fox has the broadcast rights to EPL, serie a, la liga, ligue 1, bundesliga etc

    ESPN only has the internet rights for the above mentioned(minus epl) so theres not a whole lot they can sink in to promoting them. Look i agree that ESPN should do more to promote the games and talk about them on sportscenter etc. but ur promoting a game thats not important to the majority of the viewers and thats not going to be broadcast on any of ur networks.. so in that sense i agree with them

    And another thing, did anyone watch the champions league final? U have michael strahan explaining the difference between football and soccer… really fox? really? sorry but thats embarassing… and i could argue that the on air talent for fox in my opinion isnt close to what espn had for the world cup

    Enjoy the 2014 world cup people. Should i even have to mention that comcast still doesnt offer all the fox channels in HD or even offer a majority of them? or the fact that espns package of channels on most providers is cheaper than fox’s?

    sorry but im pissed off by this

  31. David

    October 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

    All of these comments sum up my response. My first thought was no ESPN3 coverage, which is amazing. FSC is buried in a premium cable package and FS online costs a ridiculous $20 per month.

    This is just terrible news.

  32. Eric

    October 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

    As Earl pretty much pointed out, soccer in the United States will soon be found under one umbrella, Fox.

    The terrifying thing is that Fox’s on-air talent, resources, savvy is so far behind ESPN and without significant changes/improvement, it’s going to disappoint.

    Also, keep in mind that ESPN pretty much controls this sport called College Football. The College Football TV rights and bowls that ESPN pretty much owns, controls, etc. is a multi-billion dollar event…annually, while the WC is every four years.

    ESPN = College Football > Future World Cups

  33. Earl Reed

    October 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    My thoughts are this: of every network to invest in sports, FOX are the only ones to take an intentionally-serious look at soccer. Sorry, ESPN’s only REAL commitment to soccer comes around the World Cup. Most other soccer coverage is done in the moment and not focused on the continual advancement of the sport.

    For instance, aside from the die-hard EPL fans, does anyone really know that there are Premier League matches on ESPN2 on Sunday morning? Not really. Sportscenter doesn’t really promote this, nor MLS. ESPN has way too much money sunk into other endeavors to give soccer it’s fair shake.

    So for FOX to put a major bid into obtaining these World Cups, to me that’s a sign that they are ready to put a full investment into their platform. You don’t go and get these rights without preparing to grow internally. You don’t spend a fortune without some form of plan that, in 7 years, you’re capacity to provide a complete package is clear. To me, this is an indication that within a couple of years, FOX Soccer expects to have talent on the ground at the Champions League and/or EPL venues. You have to start developing the talent that people will recognize. You need World Soccer’s Al Michaels and John Madden.

    That’s FOX’s mission, if I were running the show. Because I don’t think, after ESPN’s delightful coverage, that Americans will be happy with the disjointed Studio/Contracted play-by-play setup they currently use for overseas matches.

    • Fog

      October 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      “You need World Soccer’s Al Michaels and John Madden.” Oh, like Richard Keys & Andy Gray??

      I’m sorry, but I like very little about Fox. They even screw up F1 racing with all of their commercials and constant bantering. It is a corporate trait led by Billow Riley.

  34. rej4sl

    October 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

    WOW – I just hope this means that Comcast will have national HD coverage of Fox Soccer and will also have Fox Soxxer Plus and in HD. ESPN World Cup in HD is awesome – I just looked at this story and said NO NO NO.

  35. JJ

    October 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    this sucks, i like the fact that I can choose to watch soccer for about really only 12 hours a (probably less with the infomercials) and have a channel dedicated to one of my favorite sports, but I really don’t like the fact that FCS is still a premium channel on Dtv, but i don’t mind that so much, what is more annoying is to watch any game online that fox has rights to we have to pay for their internet service (channel). O well to bad ESPN didn’t get to hold on to FIFA events.

  36. Conrad

    October 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    yeah i’m not liking this AT ALL! this will mean the end of ESPN3’s wonderful coverage of the WC as well (we’ll have to cherish it in 2014!). This means it will be harder to view any and/or all the games in an organized fashion. Knowing FOX, they’ll probably just put a couple games on their networks (only 1 on the free-to-air FOX), and continue to make people pay a premium for the WC games shown on FSC, FSC+, and…horrendous!

  37. Adam

    October 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I’m just worried that this might deter ESPN from investing more coverage and $ into soccer… They’ve been doing such a great job in the past year.

  38. Usafan8

    October 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Really disappointed with this news! ESPN finally got it right with the 2010 WC. Fox has put more effort in covering the EPL but the haven’t even come close to the coverage ESPN has. Really hoping that FOX doesn’t take a step back with the coverage.

  39. SpHSpH

    October 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

    This is HORRIBLE news!

    ESPN is deservedly panned for many of the things it does … but soccer coverage is not one of ESPN’s faults … I am really discouraged if this report is true … FOX Sports will dumb down the World Cup coverage … get ready for the NASCAR-ification of soccer in the US.

    Just terrible!

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