Fox committed to World Cup coverage despite US failure

Fox has reaffirmed its coverage plans for football’s 2018 Fifa World Cup in the United States despite an analyst estimating that the US national team’s failure to qualify for the tournament could have a negative impact on the network of between $10m (€8.4m) and $20m.

A 2-1 defeat by Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday confirmed that the US had failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Fox announced last month “unprecedented” coverage plans for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, comprising 350 hours of programming and a studio based in Moscow’s Red Square.

Brian Wieser, an analyst with equity research company Pivotal, told the Reuters news agency that the reports suggesting such a negative impact would be accurate, but manageable for Fox.

“We think the absence of the men’s team from the 2018 World Cup is negative, but only marginally so, and in line with reported estimates,” he said. “Arguably the challenging time zone will prove to cause a more significant factor depressing viewing when comparing 2018 v 2014.”

Citing the fact that the tournament will still feature teams like Mexico and England, both of which have large followings in the US, Fox said: “The World Cup is the greatest sporting event on earth that changes the world for one month every four years, and Fox Sports remains steadfast in our commitment of bringing the games to America for the first time in 2018 and will continue to support the US Soccer Federation as they look ahead to the 2022 World Cup.”