The World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November 20 and the event itself is surrounded by geopolitical controversy and intrigue , its TV partners in the US are betting that a series of events (Lionel Messi’s last World Cup, a favorable draw for the US national team) will not only improve their bottom line , can also promote football fans in the United States, North America will hold an event at 2026.
Fox Sports owns the English language rights and the game will air on Fox and Fox Sports 1, while Telemundo Deportes has Spanish language rights and the game will be broadcast on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock.
The unusual timing of the event – the tournament is usually held in the summer, but Qatar’s climate requires a delay until November – could hinder or help each network as they is navigating NFL rights (Fox has Sunday afternoon games, Telemundo has Sunday Night Football), but also trying to capitalize on a crowded schedule to raise awareness for the games.
For Fox, that means all eyes will be on Black Friday in November 20, Happening Things turned out to be the biggest game of the first round (at least for English-speaking audiences), when the US took on England.
“We treat it like a national holiday, we treat it like Super Bowl Sunday,” Fox Sports executive producer David Neal told The Hollywood Reporter at a World Cup preview event in New York.
This means extensive promotions during Fox’s Thanksgiving NFL games and on Fox News. There was even a Fox football balloon during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“We’re really going to work hard for this game, and then we really want America to progress in the tournament,” Neal added.
Fox football analysts like Alexi Lalas are bullish on the game (Lalas predicts it will bring in “monster numbers” in the ratings), but also bullish on America’s chances of qualifying first round.
“America will be in the position of the underdog [which is where they feel comfortable],” Laras said.
Neal says it’s “a luxury” to have the U.S. in the tournament, especially with 2018 In Russia, U.S. sitting on the field side. However, Fox was able to learn from that experience and try to create compelling stories about other teams.
“We’re going to try to make a lot of storytelling gold from other competitions,” Neal said.
“Four years ago, we learned a lot about how to hold an event without the US, and I think it was one of our best moments,” he added .
Chief among them this year is Argentine legend Lionel Messi, who will make his final appearance at this year’s competition. “Frankly, it’s pretty much the most important thing for us,” said Ray Warren, president of Telemundo Deportes.
While Fox is leaning toward the Black Friday US-UK game, Telemundo is working to rebrand Thanksgiving for its own purposes.
“Our fan base is much broader racially, and we have to be there for everyone, including America,” Warren said. “The U.S. and England are also big for us, just pure football, but on Thanksgiving, which is called ‘Dia de Futbol,’ we have four World Cup games, and Thanksgiving night [NFL] football.”
Both companies have some tricks.
Fox is betting this futuristic set on Doha’s Corniche will wow fans with a full LED pitch, ultra-high-definition screens and other technological innovations.
“You can see it from Mars,” Neil joked, calling it “the most technologically advanced technology you’ve ever seen on TV.”
Meanwhile, Telemundo is betting on Peacock, which will be the easiest place to live stream World Cup matches in the US (only in Spanish, of course…Fox will be streaming full match replays on Tubi).
Telemundo is betting that its audience will tune in a lot.
“A lot of people watch the NFL every week, not the Spanish version,” Warren said. “So you know, we’re very confident that a large Spanish-speaking audience will watch the World Cup. During those [NFL] times.”
No matter what happens on the field, the World Cup will be two networks Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris predicts that $125 Fox alone will have a million dollars in advertising revenue (Fox and Telemundo combined Brought about $2018 dollars of ).
but if Team USA advances to the first round, or the final with Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo… watch out.