In 2014, Fox was able to wrestle the rights away from ESPN, spending 400 million dollars to be able to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to their American audience. This summer, Fox Sports’ planning and hard work will finally debut and their voice will be heard from every match in Moscow.
Of the network’s 12 announcers they plan on utilizing during the World Cup, 8 will be American. This is of stark contrast to ESPN’s utilization during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where 5 of the 6 play-by-play announcers were from the U.K.
The two leading announcers will be John Strong and Stuart Holden. Strong and Holden are both 32 years of age, which is interesting as they both are able to bring a youthful voice to their broadcasts. Strong noted in an interview that the United States’ soccer culture is evolving and that he’ll hope to translate and integrate what he has learned into his broadcasting this summer by, “riding this wave of soccer in America and these cultural touchstones of MLS and Fox Soccer Channel and the FIFA video games.”
By culminating a broadcast team of seasoned veterans, American voices, and youthful points of view, Fox Sports has a clear message in mind: “…the message is that we have an abundance of outstanding American play-by-play voices and frankly it would make no sense not to avail ourselves of that” – David Neal, the executive producer of Fox World Cup’s coverage notes.
As we struggle to come to terms with the United States being absent from the World Cup this summer, Fox’s broadcast team will actively work to change any stigmas that Americans are not passionate about the beautiful game. Through passionate commentary and a commitment to growing soccer in America, Fox’s World Cup debut is equipped to be a must-see.