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Why the North American World Cup Matters, Plus a Sports Betting Update

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Welcome to the latest episode of the of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. With the 2018 FIFA World Cup underway, Ben Rains dives into why it is so important that the 2026 World Cup is coming to North America. Rains then discusses all of the latest happenings in the sports betting world, as more companies get in on the action.

The U.S. didn’t make the World Cup for the first time since 1986, which will likely impact Fox’s (FOXA - Free Report) coverage this summer. However, the company also holds the rights to the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, along with Spanish-language network Telemundo, which is owned by NBCUniversal (CMCSA - Free Report) . The 2026 bid was a little shady and upset the likes of ESPN (DIS - Free Report) and others—helping FIFA live up to its somewhat poor reputation.

But with the United States set to host 60 games in 2026—many of which are likely to be in primetime—in what will be the first 48-team World Cup, Fox and Telemundo look to be the clear winners. More matches, more teams, and primetime games will likely attract many more companies on top of the major players Coca-Cola (KO - Free Report) , Visa V, Budweiser (BUD - Free Report) , McDonald’s (MCD - Free Report) , Adidas ADDYY, and Nike (NKE - Free Report) .

Moving onto sports betting, a small soccer related partnership between William Hill WIMHY and Las Vegas Lights FC, of the United Soccer League USL, will see the betting company become the soccer team’s official sports book. The deal will allow fans to make live in-game bets through William Hill’s mobile app—partnerships like this are sure to become more commonplace as legalized sports betting becomes more popular.

Sports gambling is now up and running in Delaware and New Jersey. Daily fantasy giant DraftKings has already applied for a sports betting license in New Jersey, which could kick off a wave of established companies, including Wynn (WYNN - Free Report) and MGM (MGM - Free Report) , rolling out sports betting locations and platforms throughout the country.

Meanwhile, investors should pay attention to tech companies, like Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Sony (SNE - Free Report) , and even Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , to see if they utilize their infrastructure to get in on the massive mobile sports betting scene. It will also be worth keeping an eye out for any sports betting acquisitions, as startups are sure to pop up. 

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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