Argentina/France World Cup Soccer Final Set Fox Broadcast, Peacock Streaming Records

Fox Dec. 20 reported that a record 16.8 million viewers Dec. 18 watched Argentina defeat defending World Cup champion France 4-2 on penalty kicks. The viewership was up 48% from the 11.3 million who watched the 2018 final between France and Croatia.

The tally topped the previous ratings World Cup final record holder: the 1994 final between Italy and Brazil, which was watched by 14.5 million, according to Nielsen. It also topped the 15.5 million viewers for the USA/England group play match on Nov. 25.

The final generated 3 million streamers across NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform and 9 million when adding in Telemundo. Indeed, when including Telemundo, 22.3 million combined viewers in U.S. watched the final on linear TV. The match narrowly lost out to the the NCAA College Football National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (22.6 million) and the Winter Olympics debut in February (22.5 million).

Overall, Sunday’s final ranks fifth all-time for soccer TV matches viewed in the U.S. The highest-ever TV soccer viewership was the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S and Japan, which was watched by 26.7 million people. The 2014 Germany/Argentina men’s World Cup final generated 26.7 million, followed by the 2014 U.S./Portugal group play match (24.7 million) and the 24.3 million who watched Spain play Holland in 2010.

Discovery+ Greenlights Doc on Alleged Qatar World Cup Soccer Corruption

Discovery+ Sept. 20 announced the commission of the two-part documentary The Men Who Sold the World Cup, about the alleged corruption surrounding the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The series premieres exclusively on Discovery+ Oct. 17, and in the United Kingdom Oct. 21.

The oil-rich Middle East country of Qatar secured the surprise World Cup host bid in 2010 despite having scant soccer fans and even fewer air-conditioned stadiums required to host the quadrennial event in triple-digit temperatures.

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While the awarding of the World Cup to countries has been rumored for years to have been infested with bribery, corruption, global politics, backroom deals and greed, documentary directors Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme (Get Me Roger Stone, The Swamp) showcase an unbelievable story of how soccer’s biggest competition was sold to the highest bidders.

With exclusive interviews from those at the heart of the story, the documentary reveals the stranger-than-fiction truth behind how the event was sold by some of international soccer’s most senior officials — notably ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter — and how they were eventually evicted from their seats of power and luxury lifestyles.

This was a world where, for some, normal rules didn’t apply and bribery and embezzlement were just part of business. The doc is a Shakespearian narrative of money, power and corruption, featuring a cast of outrageous characters, including U.S. soccer bigwig Chuck Blazer and Qatari deal-maker Mohamed Bin Hammam, among others.

Contributors include a whistle-blower from the Qatari bid team; Blatter’s former press chief; soccer greats Jurgen Klinsmann and Landon Donovan; and Blatter, among others.

The first episode features Sunday Times investigators Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, and follows their investigation that revealed rampant corruption at the heart of FIFA. The second episode features FBI and IRS investigators whose job it was to expose criminal behavior they likened to organized crime.

The Men Who Sold the World Cup is a highly gripping series that provides a yet untold insight into one of the biggest sports scandals in history,” Simon Downing, head of factual and sports U.K. at Discovery, said in a statement. “The series is a great addition to our Discovery+ Original Sports content, including highly titles like Reaching The Sky and What Killed Maradona?”

FuboTV Acquires Streaming Rights for South American Qatar World Cup 2022 Qualifying Matches

FuboTV, the sports-themed online TV platform, has acquired the exclusive live streaming rights to the Qatar World Cup 2022 Qualifying matches of South American Football Confederation.

Soccer’s quadrennial World Cup is arguably the largest televised sporting event globally over the course of month-long run — and qualifying matches this year are a hot commodity.

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The agreement, a partnership with the 10 South American country teams’ rights holders, features the top four teams competing within CONMEBOL, one of FIFA’s six continental confederations, qualifying for Qatar. In addition to CONMEBOL, FuboTV will stream qualifying matches through its carriage of other channel partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Specifically, FuboTV has live streaming rights for 70 matches scheduled to begin in June, with several additional matches into early 2022, featuring both English and Spanish commentary

The platform will produce original programming, including pre, half-time and post match shows, to air throughout the season. Specific details on programming, including how consumers can stream all South American qualifying matches with FuboTV, and on-air talent will be announced later.

“By offering the best of South American soccer in advance of Qatar 2022, we are further differentiating FuboTV’s sports-first content portfolio enabling us to engage with more consumers than ever before,” David Gandler, co-founder/CEO of FuboTV, said in a statement.