FOX’s World Cup success rides on how USMNT does in Qatar

FOX Sports executives know that the success of FOX World Cup coverage depends on one thing, and that is how well the USMNT does it.

If the US Men’s National Team goes home after three games, FOX Sports will face enormous obstacles in making the 2022 World Cup a financial and ratings success.

Conversely, if the USMNT advances from Pool B and advances through the various rounds, it may be enough for FOX Sports to break through the noise of college football and the NFL.

The Unique FOX World Cup Challenge

During a video conference this week with US soccer media, World Soccer Talk asked Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren about the advantages the Spanish-language broadcaster has compared to the challenges facing FOX Sports.

“Some of FOX’s viewers will have to make decisions. There is a lot of conflict in [FOX’s] schedule between college football and the NFL. They will have more games on FS1 this year than they did in 2018 because of that. The example is Argentina versus Mexico, which will conflict with Ohio State-Michigan, so we look forward to that day.

“Hispanic fans go from one team to another. If your team goes out, you have a second favourite. They could have a third. And if everyone is out, they still want to see the World Cup and they will have a fourth.

“More Hispanic teams in our domain allows us an audience that will stay with us.”

That is something important that FOX Sports does not have up its sleeve.

USMNT has to get it right for FOX

Watching the World Cup, if you feel too much exuberance on FOX’s part to want the USMNT to do well, don’t be too surprised. Deep down, the talent at FOX Sports is proud of Team USA and excited and positive about its chances of success.

At the same time, they know that a US team advancing in this competition will give them more TV exposure, as well as help TV ratings.

After all, FOX knows what it’s like to not have the USMNT at a World Cup.

“The collateral damage that [the US not playing in the 2018 World Cup] did to our viewership numbers was unmistakable,” FOX Sports Executive Producer David Neal said recently.

The failure of the US to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia also affected FOX’s results.

According to Standard Media Index estimates, FOX’s advertising sales were down 29% for the 2018 World Cup compared to the $319 million raised by Disney and Univision. In short, it was due to lower than expected ratings.

Overall, a successful campaign for the US Men’s National Team at Qatar 2022 will make a big difference for FOX Sports. Indirectly, the success of the USA in the World Cup will also help increase the popularity of the sport in our country.

How Qatar 2022 has already been a success for FOX

However, the irony in all of this is that Qatar 2022 has already been a huge success for FOX Sports. How is that? In 2011, FOX Sports paid an estimated $500 million to FIFA for the rights to televise the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. But in 2014, reports revealed that FIFA was planning to move Qatar 2022 out of the summer months. to winter.

Subsequently, according to World Soccer Talk sources, FOX Sports threatened to sue FIFA for moving the competition to winter. In short, FOX Sports was upset that the tournament would go head-to-head with college football and the NFL. Therefore, Qatar 2022 would not be as successful financially for FOX Sports due to increased competition from traditional American sports.

In the end, a compromise was reached.

FIFA made the decision to give FOX Sports the television rights for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Despite this, no other broadcasters had the opportunity to bid for the rights. ESPN, among other broadcasters, was furious.

The story had an even happier ending for FOX Sports in 2018 when the broadcaster learned that the United States, Canada, and Mexico would host the 2026 World Cup. The competition promises to be a huge source of revenue for FOX Sports, notably, as the exclusive English-language broadcaster in the United States.

Looking back, Qatar 2022 is perhaps the best decision FIFA has ever made for FOX Sports.

Photo Credit: IMAGO/Icon Sportswire

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