Fox Could Put World Cup Focus On Mexican National Team With USMNT Out
With the U.S. men's national team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Fox could "spend even more marketing dollars and heft" on the Mexican national team, "given the potential audience," according to Richard Deitsch of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Fox owns the English-language rights to the Mexican national team in the U.S., and at the World Cup launch party last month, Fox Sports President & COO Eric Shanks said that the net "would market the Mexican national team" as its "second team during the tournament." Shanks: "We are embracing El Tri and we have since the Confederations Cup. We have the Gold Cup every two years." But the USMNT's elimination still is a "disaster for Fox Sports," and the "dollars lost will be huge." The marketing will also "likely shift to a much heavier push earlier" on int'l players such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo (SI, 10/11).
GUT PUNCH: AD AGE's Anthony Crupi wrote there is "no way to overstate just how crushing a blow this development is for Fox." With the tournament being held "halfway around the world in Russia, Fox was already at bit of a disadvantage." But the loss of the U.S. is "almost certain to eliminate the casual fans that help pump up the ratings" (AD AGE, 10/11).