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The FIFA World Cup was first broadcast on television in 1954 and is now the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games.[1] 715.2 million individuals watched the final match of the 2006 tournament (representing 11 percent of the entire population of the planet). The 2006 World Cup draw, which decided the distribution of teams into groups, was watched by 300 million viewers.

North America Edit

Canada Edit

CBC broadcast the FIFA World Cup in 1986, 2002, and 2010, as well as the 2014 World Cup, along with Sportsnet. TSN also broadcast the FIFA World Cup in 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002. On October 27, 2011, Bell Media, the parent company of TSN, announced that they had secured broadcast rights for FIFA soccer from 2015 to 2022. The rights include the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup—which was hosted in Canada.

Mexico Edit

  • 2026-future: Canal Once, Canal 22 and Una Voz con Todos (all matches)
  • 1974–2022: Televisa and TV Azteca (all matches)
  • 1954–1970: Telesistema Mexicano (all matches)

United States Edit

English-language television Edit

Finals Edit

Year Network Play-by-play Color commentators Sideline Reporters Studio host Studio analysts
2026 Fox
2022
2018
2014 ABC Ian Darke Steve McManaman Taylor Twellman Bob Ley Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller
2010 Martin Tyler Efan Ekoku Chris Fowler and Bob Ley Alexi Lalas and Ruud Gullit
2006 Dave O'Brien Marcelo Balboa Daniel Mann Brent Musburger Eric Wynalda and Julie Foudy
2002 Jack Edwards Ty Keough Glenn Davis Terry Gannon Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir
1998 Bob Ley Seamus Malin Phil Schoen Brent Musburger Eric Wynalda
1994 Ian Darke Seamus Malin Bob Ley Jim McKay Desmond Armstrong
1990 TNT Bob Neal Mick Luckhurst Ernie Johnson, Jr.
1986 NBC Charlie Jones Rick Davis and Paul Gardner Don Criqui Seamus Malin
1982 ABC Jim McKay Mario Machado and Paul Gardner Giorgio Chinaglia
1978 No coverage
1974 CBS (used BBC's feed with BBC commentators) David Coleman
1970 ABC Jim McKay
1966 NBC Jim Simpson

Notes Edit

  • The first American coverage of the World Cup consisted only of a previously filmed telecast of the 1966 Final on NBC. The Final was aired before their coverage of the Saturday Major League Baseball Game of the Week. NBC used the black & white BBC feed and aired it on a two-hour film delay. This was the first time soccer had been shown in the United States as a stand-alone broadcast. Previously, ABC's Wide World of Sports had shown England's Football Association Cup on as long as a two-week delay.
  • 1970's coverage was usually week-old filmed highlights shown on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
  • 1974's coverage also contained week-old filmed highlights on CBS Sports Spectacular.
  • 1978 had no English language coverage on American television at all.

Other rounds Edit

Year Network Play-by-play Color commentators Studio host Studio analyst(s)
2026 Fox'Fox Sports 1'

Fox Sports 2

2022
2018
2014 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Ian Darke

Jon Champion

Derek Rae

Daniel Mann

Adrian Healey

Fernando Palomo

Steve McManaman

Stewart Robson

Efan Ekoku

Kasey Keller

Taylor Twellman

Roberto Martínez

Alejandro Moreno

Craig Burley

Mike Tirico

Bob Ley

Lynsey Hipgrave

Alexi Lalas, Michael Ballack, Alejandro Moreno, Kasey Keller, Gilberto Silva, Santiago Solari, Roberto Martínez, and Ruud van Nistelrooy
2010 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Martin Tyler

Ian Darke

Derek Rae

Adrian Healey

Jim Proudfoot

Efan Ekoku

John Harkes

Ally McCoist

Robbie Mustoe

Roberto Martínez

Chris Fowler

Mike Tirico

Bob Ley

Alexi Lalas, Jürgen Klinsmann, Ruud Gullit, and Shaun Bartlett
2006 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Dave O'Brien

JP Dellacamera

Rob Stone

Glenn Davis

Adrian Healey

Marcelo Balboa

John Harkes

Robin Fraser

Shep Messing

Tommy Smyth

Brent Musburger

Rece Davis

Dave Revsine

Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda, Julie Foudy, and Heather Mitts
2002 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Jack Edwards

JP Dellacamera

Mike Hill

Glenn Davis

Ty Keough

Tommy Smyth

Seamus Malin

Shep Messing

Terry Gannon Eric Wynalda and Giorgio Chinaglia
1998 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Bob Ley

Roger Twibell

JP Dellacamera

Derek Rae

Phil Schoen

Seamus Malin

Mike Hill

Bill McDermott

Tommy Smyth

Ty Keough

Brent Musburger Eric Wynalda
1994 'ESPN'ESPN2

ABC

Roger Twibell

Bob Carpenter

Bob Ley

Ian Darke

Jim Donovan

Seamus Malin

Clive Charles

Ty Keough

Peter Vermes

Ron Newman

Jim McKay (ABC only) Desmond Armstrong (ABC only)
1990 TNT Bob Neal

JP Dellacamera

Rick Davis

Ty Keough

Ernie Johnson, Jr.
1986 NBC Charlie Jones Rick Davis and Paul Gardner Don Criqui Seamus Malin
ESPN JP Dellacamera Seamus Malin and Shep Malling
1982 PBS Toby Charles None
ESPN Bob Ley Seamus Malin

Notes

  • In 1982, PBS and ESPN provided the first thorough American television coverage of the FIFA World Cup. ABC aired the first live telecast of the final. ABC aired commercials during the live action. Meanwhile, PBS aired same day highlights of the top game of the day.
  • 1986 marked the first time that the World Cup had extensive live cable and network television coverage in the United States. ESPN carried most of the weekday matches while NBC did weekend games.
  • In 1990, the World Cup was covered exclusively by cable television (TNT) in the United States and had many features of the host country (Italy).
  • The 1994 American coverage had many firsts: The first with all of the matches televised, the first with no commercial interruptions during live action, and the first to feature an on-screen score & time box.
  • In 1998, all of the matches were televised in the United States live for the first time.
  • The 2002 American coverage was all live as well, in spite of the games being played in Japan and South Korea, and therefore aired in the middle of the night.
  • The 2006 coverage from Germany was fully live as well.
  • Dave O'Brien joined Marcelo Balboa on the primary broadcast team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup coverage on ESPN and ABC Sports, despite having no experience calling soccer matches prior to that year. Because The Walt Disney Company, owner of both television outlets, retained control over on-air talent, the appointment of O'Brien as the main play-by-play voice was made over the objections of Soccer United Marketing, who wanted JP Dellacamera to continue in that role. Disney stated that their broadcast strategy was intended, in voice and style, to target the vast majority of Americans who do not follow the sport on a regular basis. Mispronunciation and incorrect addressing of names, misuse of soccer terminology, and lack of insight into tactics and history plagued the telecasts, resulting in heavy criticism from English-speaking soccer fans, many of whom ended up watching the games on Univision instead.
  • The 2010 coverage from South Africa introduced ESPN 3D for 25 matches.
  • The 2014 coverage was available on mobile devices and tablets via the WatchESPN application, as well as on Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles, live and on-demand, via the ESPN on Xbox Live application.
  • Starting in 2018, coverage will be available on mobile devices and tablets via the Fox Sports Go application.

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