Broadcasters Fox and Telemundo could benefit from a windfall of $500 million from FIFA’s decision to hold the 2020 World Cup in Qatar, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The windfall– should it materialise – stems from the fact that FIFA wants to move the 2022 World Cup to cooler autumn months to avoid the Gulf state’s searing summer temperatures. However, Fox and Telemundo had already agreed to pay $1.1 billion to air the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, and that price assumed the traditional June-July schedule. But if held in autumn, the World Cup would clash with college professional football, as well as the start of basketball and hockey. Not surprisingly the networks told FIFA they were “reviewing their options.”
To void legal action, FIFA executives offered Fox and Telemundo the chance to buy the rights to the 2026 tournament in a closed auction, without opening the bidding to competitors, the report added.
Indeed, details of FIFA’s contracts reveal Fox and Telemundo bought the 2026 television rights in the lucrative US and Canadian markets for the same price as the 2022 event. Furthermore, Telemundo agreed to pay at least $350 million with FIFA getting a $115 million bonus if the US ended up hosting the event. Meanwhile, Fox’s fee was $300 million, with a $180 million bonus. Global soccer may have made an additional $500 million by soliciting competing bids, according to a member of FIFA’s governing council, the report stated.