Earlier this month, FIFA announced that it had awarded Fox the rights without accepting bids from other networks, including ESPN. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported ESPN executives were "unaware of any negotiations for FIFA media rights in the U.S."
FIFA has recommended the 2022 World Cup in Qatar be held in November and December, when ratings are lower than the traditional summer schedule. Deitsch reported earlier this month that giving Fox the 2026 World Cup could be a "make-good" for the expected lower ratings.
Sandomir reports that FIFA wanted to "mollify Fox, not fight it."
According to an executive made aware of the terms of the contract, Fox will pay about 10 percent more than in its current contracts for 2018 and 2022, which are worth a total of $425 million.
The host country for the 2026 World Cup has not been selected. Russia will host the event in 2018, while Qatar will host the 2022 tournament.
- Paul Palladino