With World Cup rights set to kick in two years from now, Fox Sports has added even more soccer inventory.
Fox Sports has acquired the television rights to all European qualifying matches for the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup tournaments, it was announced Tuesday. Fox will sub-license half of those matches to ESPN, which holds television rights to Euro 2016.
Under the agreement, Fox and ESPN will each air 129 Euro 2016 qualifying matches from September 2014 to November 2015, 129 World Cup qualifiers from September 2016 to November 2017, and 15 international friendlies from 2014-18. The Fox matches will air on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Soccer Plus, while the ESPN matches will air on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Fox will have first pick on World Cup qualifiers each week, while ESPN will have first pick on Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Despite the loss of MLS and English Premier League rights — and the imminent demise of Fox Soccer Channel — Fox Sports has bolstered its commitment to soccer in recent years. The Fox broadcast network has aired the UEFA Champions League final for four consecutive years, and the Fox family of networks will air the World Cup in 2015 (women), 2018 (men), 2019 (women), and 2022 (men).
(Tuesday’s news from Fox Sports Media Group)