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ESPN wants FIFA 2030 World Cup rights

ESPN wants FIFA 2030 World Cup rights

In a recent podcast interview, the head of ESPN revealed that the company wants the FIFA 2030 World Cup rights.

ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, speaking on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch, discussed the potential of the tournament coming back to ESPN. Deitsch asked if ESPN would consider broadcasting the World Cup again, something Pitaro and ESPN would take on without hesitation.

“Absolutely. Hard stop. Without any reservations. If they were coming up for the next World Cup [2026], I would say the same thing,” Pitaro said.

“Whenever they are ready to talk, we’re ready to sit down with them.”

After missing out on the World Cup rights for 2018 and 2022 back in 2015, FOX extended its rights to the FIFA World Cup through the 2026 tournament. In that tournament, hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, FIFA expects the biggest World Cup in history. Reason being, the number of teams jumps from 32 to 40. Plus, there are more countries joining to host one World Cup.

ESPN wants the FIFA 2030 World Cup rights

For the 2030 World Cup, Pitaro says ESPN is ready to enter the foray of international coverage again. Currently, soccer has a strong presence on ESPN’s family of networks and channels, particularly ESPN+. However, the ESPN+ platform is the home of the Bundesliga and La Liga for U.S. viewers, and does not have prominence in the international soccer area.

“It’s a fantastic game,” Pitaro said. “I think soccer is part of the identity, today, of ESPN+. If you are a soccer fan, you pretty much have to have ESPN+. But, we are all in on the sport.”

As of now, FOX is the home of international soccer in the United States. The channel carries the CONCACAF Gold Cup, CONMEBOL Copa America and, starting in 2024, the UEFA European Championship. Plus, of course, it houses both the men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments.

ESPN used to have a role in broadcasting these events. Most recently, ESPN aired its final European Championship for Euro 2020 this past year. Moreover, ESPN broadcasted the World Cups in the United States from 1994 until 2014. That consecutive run started with the United States hosting the tournament in ’94.

ESPN looks to build on the popularity raised in the sport following the United bid in 2026. The FIFA 2030 World Cup could be a driver for subscriptions to ESPN+ should any deal come to fruition.

PHOTO: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

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  1. Jack

    July 11, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    I like the fact that ESPN+ is the home of club soccer and FOX is the home of international soccer. Makes things simple and streamlined

  2. Jared

    July 8, 2022 at 11:42 pm

    48 teams in 2026

  3. Eddie

    July 8, 2022 at 10:53 am

    The world cup must be cable and free to air and simulcasting streaming of live sports because it’s the most-watched this tournament. For example, Europe or other countries have anti-siphoning laws to protect free-to-air live sports on tv.

    Here is a link to more details

    In the USA, it could be NBC, FOX, CBS, and ABC of free air and cable is ESPN, the USA network, CBSSN, FS1, and maybe Turner sports TNT/TBS.

  4. Buckles

    July 6, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    Fox could very easily bid again and get the rights.

  5. Albert Pineros

    July 6, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    I can predict that ESPN, CBS or Turner Sports(English)and Univision(Spanish)will be on the bidding for Next FIFA TV rights for 2027-2034 the current FIFA rights are currently televised is FOX Sports and Telemundo their existing deal will be expired at the year of 2026 but I’m sure that there is still time that if FIFA would get Univision the FIFA rights of 2027-2034 not Telemundo because that channel is giving awful coverage but I’m confident that Univision and ESPN, CBS or Turner Sports will get the next FIFA rights of 2027-2034

    • locofooty

      July 7, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Awful coverage according to you. Telemundo is less clownish than Univision. I cringe every time I remember Univision’s coverage of the WC. Horrendous, tacky, clownish. It was all jokes and stupid commentary. No thanks. They have gotten some better people in the last few years with having acquired UEFA rights and taking things a bit more serious, but still just thinking about their WC coverage makes me dread Univision acquiring the rights again. Thanks, but no thanks.

    • Timely78

      July 7, 2022 at 9:50 pm

      I don’t think fifa would allow Turner sports to get the rights they have no broadcast network of their own

      • Jimmy

        July 8, 2022 at 1:59 pm

        I could see Turner teaming up with CBS, like what they do with NCAA March Madness.

        For viewers who want to watch the world cup for free OTA, they can with Telemundo.

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