Sources: FIFA To Award Fox U.S. TV Rights In Surprise Move
The FIFA World Cup will have a new U.S. TV partner in '18 and '22, with several sources saying that Fox will pick up the English-language rights. FIFA has informed the bidders and is planning to announce the winners at some point today or early next week. 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.
Bids were initially submitted in Zurich on Wednesday, with a second round of bids being submitted yesterday afternoon. ESPN in '05 paid $100M for an English-language package that included rights to the '10 and '14 World Cups. Fox picked up rights to all FIFA events from '15-22, including the men's World Cup in '18 and '22; the women's World Cup in '15 and '19; and all U-20 and U-17 games. It is unclear who will pick up the Spanish-language rights that both Univision and Telemundo were bidding on, with Univision the incumbent.