Welcome to a 2018 FIFA World Cup episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. This week, Ben Rains dives into everything that investors and casual fans need to know about the world’s biggest sporting event before it kicks off in Russia on Thursday.
The first game of the World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia starts at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. The match begins a 64-game tournament that will likely be watched by billions of people in more than 200 countries over the next month, culminating with the final on July 15.
American soccer fans will be able to watch every game of the World Cup live on Fox (FOXA - Free Report) or FS1, with streaming available through multiple Fox apps as well as on services such as YouTube TV (GOOGL - Free Report) . Fox and Spanish-language network Telemundo, which is owned by NBCUniversal (CMCSA - Free Report) , won the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the U.S. for roughly $1 billion combined.
Fox’s coverage will feature more games on network television than were aired during the last four World Cups combined—most of which were on ESPN (DIS - Free Report) . However, none of these games will feature the U.S., who failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986, possibly hurting Fox’s coverage.
Meanwhile, fans will be able to create their own highlight packages dating back to 1958, through a Fox platform, powered by IBM’s (IBM - Free Report) Watson AI technology. The BBC is set to broadcast all their matches live in virtual reality as well as in 4K Ultra HD.
With that said, some of the most well-known companies in the world also spend upwards of $50 million a year to sponsor FIFA and the World Cup. This list includes the likes of Coca-Cola (KO - Free Report) , Visa V, Qatar Airways, Budweiser (BUD - Free Report) , McDonald’s (MCD - Free Report) , and many more.
Aside from Fox and some of the major World Cup sponsors, sportswear giants Adidas (ADDYY - Free Report) and Nike (NKE - Free Report) will take center stage in Russia. The two companies lead the way in jersey sponsorships, while German sportswear maker Puma and New Balance will also see their logos plastered all over the world for the next month—notably left off this list is Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) .
The 2018 World Cup also features some of the biggest stars in the world including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar. The three men are not just a few of the most well-known soccer players, they are also some of the richest and most famous entertainers in the world. All three landed in the top five of Forbes’ recent highest paid athletes list and rank among the most followed accounts in the world on Instagram (FB - Free Report) .
Listen to the full episode to hear everything you might need to know about the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while also giving yourself a leg up on the soccer-based conversations that are likely to take place over the next month—and for years to come.
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