FOX Sports announced its plans to cover the 2018 FIFA World Cup in New York City last week and I had the pleasure of attending the event. I was at a similar announcement in 2013 when Univision held its 2014 World Cup presentation event, also in New York. These occasions are for the networks to show advertisers and their agencies how they plan to cover BIG events. In this case, FOX Sports unveiled their plans for the upcoming World Cup, including their talent roster, studio shows around the event, and how they plan to attract viewers so advertisers can feel confident that the investment they are planning for the event will be worthwhile.
As a cultural agency that uses soccer as a marketing tool for a lot of our clients, FOX Sports’ announcements were especially interesting. FOX has the English-language rights for the event (Telemundo has the Spanish-language rights), but that is definitely not stopping them from aggressively going after Hispanic audiences. Among their plans that stand out to me are:
- They will broadcast more than half of all the games on FOX Network. This is more than triple what ESPN/ABC did in 2014.
- In addition to having the U.S. National Team coach Bruce Arena at the event, they also had Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexico’s Coach. FOX recognized the fact that Mexico’s games will command some of the highest ratings at the event and they plan on having as many of these viewers as possible to watch the games in English.
- Finally, they announced that Fernando Fiore, who will be covering his eighth World Cup, will be the host of a nighty show called FOX Tonight, which will recap the day’s action. Fernando is a longtime friend of AC&M Group, we have worked together in multiple campaigns over the years, so I know how hard he has worked to earn the love and trust of Hispanic soccer fans. I am sure that he will definitely help FOX Sports attract viewers that know Fernando and also make their World Cup coverage more exciting for general market viewers who are not as familiar with him.
Most people will start hearing about the World Cup around April with increasing coverage as the event gets closer. However, for those of us in the industry, the World Cup excitement is here NOW. We are already working on campaigns and programs for several clients. Based on the buzz we are hearing from fans and brands, I am confident that more brands across the country will leverage the event as a marketing strategy than ever before.