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U.S. Soccer Loss to Trinidad and Tobago has Business Consequences
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By: Teri Bernstein

 

 from Fox Soccer

 

The U.S. soccer team will not be involved in the World Cup play-offs for the first time in 30 years. They lost in the men's qualifying event to LAST place Trinidad-Tobago. But Fox Sports was an even bigger loser: 

"The most notable casualty is Fox, which in 2011 paid a reported $425 million to broadcast FIFA matches — including the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups — in English in the United States. Even at a major increase from the combined $425 million ESPN and Univision paid for English and Spanish rights for the 2010 and 2014 tournaments under the most recent contract, the deal at the time fit nicely into Fox’s overall broadcasting strategy."

 

Ad revenue is a major issue, as is audience and ad rates for future World Cup competitions. The risk Fox took in entering this contract seemed to be less than it turned out to be, given this upset. When the U.S. team is not involved, soccer audiences in the U.S. are smaller.  This affects future contracts, and may have a ripple effect with interest in soccer by younger players. 

 

Source: "Fox Sports was the real loser in the U.S. World Cup qualifying flop," by Alicia Jessop, Washington Post, October 11, 2017. 

 

Discussion

  • Read about the Fox deal for the 2026 World Cup. How might this have influenced (or mitigated, or exacerbated) this year's situation?
  • What are the labor law issues that exist vis-a-vis women's soccer as it relates to men's soccer? What doesn't make sense about the issues at stake?  
  • What other businesses may be affected if soccer interest in the U.S. wanes?