FOX and ESPN join forces for new soccer deal
FOX Sports Media Group and UEFA have entered into a multi-media rights agreement for all UEFA EURO 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup European qualifying matches, it was announced today by David Nathanson, Executive Vice President, FOX Soccer.
Simultaneously, FSMG has agreed to sublicense half the game inventory to ESPN for broadcasting on its television and digital assets. The rights are exclusive in the United States, non-exclusive in the Caribbean.
In a statement released by Fox Sports there was plenty of good cheer to go around.
“The journey for a country to be represented in two of the most prestigious soccer tournaments in the world is some of the most exciting soccer played each year,” Nathanson said. “There are no two media properties better fit to showcase these matches than ESPN and FOX Sports whom already have the broadcast rights to the UEFA EURO 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup respectively. The UEFA European Qualifiers adds a new dimension of depth to our robust portfolio of soccer broadcast rights.”
“UEFA has gone to great lengths to organize these critical and competitive matches,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president for programming. “We are delighted to work with UEFA and FOX to bring fans in the United States all the qualifying matches in Europe for UEFA EURO 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
Qualifying matches for the UEFA EURO 2016 begin in September 2014, while 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers begin in September 2016. The rights retained by FSMG and those granted to ESPN are identical. FOX Sports and ESPN each have rights to over 270 matches total for both cycles. Each package includes:
- 129 UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifiers (Sept. 2014 – Nov. 2015)
- 129 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (Sept. 2016 – Nov. 2017)
- 15 international friendly matches over the term (2014-2018)
ESPN, the UEFA EURO 2016 rights holder, plans to offer its more than 270 qualifying matches across ESPN networks – ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN3. ESPN has also attained highlights rights for studio programs including SportsCenter, ESPN’s new daily soccer program ESPN FC on TV and the company’s global soccer digital hub ESPN FC. During the UEFA EURO 2016 qualification cycle, ESPN has first selection from each week’s pool of games leading into its tournament coverage.
As we know FSMG is home to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the first of two FIFA World Cup tournaments FOX Sports gained rights to in 2011. Qualifying matches for the UEFA EURO 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup are slated for carriage across several FOX Sports platforms, including FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network premieringAug. 17; FOX Sports GO, a groundbreaking mobile sports experience launching this summer; FOX Soccer Plus; and FOX Soccer 2Go. During the World Cup qualification cycle, FOX Sports has first selection from each week’s game pool leading up to its coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.