Chris Stearns

The FA Cup Could Be A Digital-First Streaming Property in the United States

Media rights will always be major news in the soccer and overall sports world. 2018 will see two of the biggest global soccer competitions change hands. Another lesser-known competition could be making a major shift as well…even beyond the route of traditional television.

This summer, FOX will broadcast their first ever men’s FIFA World Cup. Their current FIFA deal started with their broadcast of the 2015 Women’s World Cup and is slated to end with following the 2026 men’s World Cup. The Women’s World Cup in Canada was a well-produced affair, with FOX dedicating the resources to fully showcase everything the tournament had to offer. As we draw closer and closer to Russia 2018’s kickoff on June 14, we’re definitely monitoring FOX’s coverage plan from both media and digital angles. They’ve already announced major deals with both Twitter and Snapchat for digital content throughout the month-long affair.

While FOX gains the world’s largest national team soccer tournament, they are losing the leading global club competition as the UEFA Champions League is moving to Turner starting this fall with the 2018-19 season, complete with a digital streaming component. We’re eagerly awaiting more details of their coverage and look forward to that over the coming months.

Finally, the historic FA Cup could be making big moves stateside starting with the 2018-19 edition. Like the Champions League, its current deal with FOX also expires at the end of the 2017-18 season. It could potentially move from television to a digital streaming service including Amazon Prime, Facebook, BAMtech or the soon-to-be-launched ESPN Plus. There’s nothing quite like “the magic of the cup” which can potentially pit teams from non-league soccer (the fifth tier or lower of England) against the Premier League’s elite. With cable-cutting becoming more frequent and media companies offering OTT services to entice those who do cut cable, going toward a digital streaming service could be a smart way to bring in new viewers.

Categories: TV Rights