By Lucas Shaw & Sharon Waxman
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Fox paid $425 million to win the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup in the United States, and Telemundo paid $600 million for Spanish-language U.S. rights, an individual with knowledge of the bidding tells TheWrap.
That’s a staggering $1 billion-plus for World Cup rights in which Univision lost $100 million in the last go-round.
Will it be worth it?
Fox Sports Chairman David Hill & Co. beat out ESPN in the bidding war.
In 2005 ESPN bought the rights for the 2010 Cup in South Africa and the 2014 event in Brazil. ESPN bid $400 million, the person said.
ESPN has invested heavily in soccer, grabbing the rights to lucrative packages like the English Premier League and lesser ones like Major League Soccer.
“ESPN remains committed to presenting the sport of soccer at the highest level across our platforms with coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship, English Premier League, La Liga, MLS and other top leagues and tournaments, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” the Bristol, Conn.-based company said in a statement.
In keeping with its typical line of explanation, ESPN said it remained “disciplined” but “aggressive.” That’s code for “we got outbid and didn’t want to spend as much as it would have taken.”
Meanwhile, Fox’s deal means that it not only gets the men’s World Cup, but all FIFA events from 2015-2022. That includes the women’s World Cup, as well as the under-20 and under-17 national team competitions.
FIFA is expected to announce the deal in a press conference Friday afternoon. ESPN’s previous package was worth $100 million, while Univision paid $325 million for the Spanish-language rights for 2010 and 2014.