Fox, Telemundo buy TV rights to FIFA World Cup soccer

The Fox network and the Spanish-language Telemundo network have scored future U.S. television rights to FIFA’s World Cup soccer from longtime incumbents ESPN and Univision.

The new deals take effect in 2015 — after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — and run to 2022. The pacts include rights to two World Cup men’s finals in 2018 and 2022 and two World Cup women’s finals in 2015 and 2019.

Although terms of the two agreements were not disclosed, people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly said that News Corp.'s Fox paid $425 million for its package while Telemundo, owned by Comcast, shelled out about $600 million for its rights.


Those figures represent a hefty increase from the $100 million that ESPN was paying and the $325 million that Univision had paid for its current soccer contracts.

“We made a disciplined bid that would have been both valuable to FIFA and profitable for our company,” ESPN said in a statement Friday.

Univision, which has held rights to World Cup soccer since 1978, said in a statement that it remained “committed to prudently evaluating content investments.”

For Telemundo, which has long trailed Univision in ratings, getting the World Cup is a coup. It will give the network a huge platform to promote the rest of its programming to the growing Latino audience in the United States.

“This landmark deal for Telemundo represents perhaps the greatest milestone in its history,” said Lauren Zalaznick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks, who has oversight of the Spanish-language network.