Fox Outbids ESPN, NBC for 2018/2022 World Cup Rights

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Fox paid between $450 million and $500 million for the rights (Getty)
(WFI) Fox will broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the USA after outbidding rivals ESPN and NBC.

Leaders from each of the three networks had travelled to Zurich last week to hand over their offers to world football’s governing body.

In what’s widely being considered a surprise, Fox’s bid was apparently considered the best by the FIFA Executive Committee.

Fox is said to have paid between $450 million and $500 million for the English rights with Telemundo forking out another $600 million for Spanish. 

The current contract sees ESPN and Univision pay a combined $425 million for the 2010 and 2014 finals, meaning the worth of the World Cup has more than doubled in the US market.

This increase of almost 150% in the total rights value is also somewhat of a surprise considering the time difference between the USA and 2018 host Russia as well as 2022 host Qatar. 

Qatar is seven hours ahead of the US and most of western Russia is eight ahead, factors that apparently didn’t temper the bidding a bit.

Heading into last week, all three candidates had a fighting chance with claims to football among their existing sport portfolios.

ESPN, of course, was the incumbent as well as the primary broadcaster of Major League Soccer.

NBC just bought a second-tier MLS package that commits the network to football through at least 2014.

Fox, for its part, operates the country’s only 24/7 football channel and owns rights to the UEFA Champions League.

Now the network can count the 2018 and 2022 finals among its cornerstone properties in addition to the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups as well as other FIFA flagship events in the rights period running through 2022.

By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson

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