Why isn’t the World Cup on ESPN?
All good things must come to an end. Since 1994, ESPN has been broadcasting the FIFA World Cup into millions of homes across the United States but this year it’ll be no more. Way back in 2011, ESPN lost the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to rival network FOX Sports.
So for World Cup 2018 and 2022, it’ll be FOX Sports televising the world’s greatest games instead of ESPN. To make matters worse for ESPN fans, FOX Sports also acquired the rights to World Cup 2026 so the soonest that ESPN could return to televising World Cup competitions is 2030!
When the bidding for the US TV rights for the 2018 World Cup happened in 2011, FOX Sports reportedly paid $425 million to beat ESPN’s bid to acquire the rights to broadcast Copa Mundial.
To watch the 2018 World Cup on FOX Sports, you can watch many of the games via over-the-air television or through a legal streaming service such as fuboTV.
Despite ESPN losing the World Cup rights to FOX Sports, ESPN plans extensive English and Spanish-language news and information coverage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia across its media platforms in the United States during the month-long tournament, June 14 – July 15.
ESPN’s English-language coverage will include a special one-hour SportsCenter – primarily on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET – on every match day of the tournament. The SportsCenter editions will focus primarily on World Cup news and analysis. ESPNFC.com correspondents will also provide on-site reports from Russia. ESPN FC, the global soccer program available exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+, the ESPN App and ESPN.com, will also air daily.