World Cup Qualifying Television Rights

We understand that fans may have questions about why U.S. Men’s National Team’s away World Cup Qualifying matches are not on Fox Sports, ESPN and Univision which are U.S. Soccer’s broadcast rights holders.

To provide fans insight into how the worldwide television rights are handled for away World Cup qualifiers and why the match is not being televised by a U.S. Soccer broadcast partner, we have included answers to some frequently asked questions below. This is a complicated and sometimes confusing process, but we hope this information will offer some clarification.

As we have in the past, we will continue to work with the host Federation and our broadcast partners to do everything we can to televise all future U.S. Men’s National Team away World Cup qualifiers.

For any further questions, please email us at supporters@ussoccer.org.

Who owns the rights to World Cup Qualifying matches?
The worldwide television rights to each World Cup Qualifying match are initially the property of the hosting country. The host Federation, who often works with a third-party to commercialize these television rights, is the rights holder and can distribute the broadcast in various countries at its sole discretion.  The Federation is under no obligation to sell the rights to a broadcaster in the United States. Since each country is responsible for the sale of the broadcast rights to its home matches, U.S. Soccer has no authority to compel the host Federation to sell the rights of a World Cup qualifier to any broadcaster in the United States.

Why does the host Federation initially own the rights?
It is industry standard for the ownership of the worldwide television rights for World Cup Qualifying matches to belong to the host Federation.

Why don't U.S. Soccer and its broadcast partners purchase the rights?
With every National Team match, U.S. Soccer wants the television broadcast to reach the widest audience possible and always pursues every option available to purchase the rights in conjunction with our broadcast partners. Ultimately, the rights holder makes the final decision on whether they will sell the rights to a broadcaster in the United States.

Will all away World Cup Qualifying matches for the U.S. be on beIN SPORTS and Universo*?
Unfortunately, we are not able to answer that question at this time because the rights holder for each away Qualifying match will make a determination on whether they will sell the rights to a broadcaster in the United States. U.S. Soccer and its broadcast partners will pursue every available option to purchase the rights for upcoming away World Cup qualifiers.

*Formerly NBC Universo

How can I get beIN SPORTS to watch the English language broadcast?
beIN SPORT is available on Direct TV (channel 620; en Español 426), Dish Network (channel 408; en Español 871), and a specific package on Xfinity TV by Comcast (visit www.xfinity.com/support/local-channel-lineup/ to find your local beIN SPORT channel).

How can I get Universo to watch the Spanish language broadcast?
To find Universo on your satellite, telco or cable TV channel lineup, go to Channel 410 on Direct TV; Channel 838 on DISH Network; Channel 3009 or 3010 on AT&T U-verse; and visit www.nbcuniverso.com/encuentra for the Universo channel number on your local cable TV listings.

I’m not going to purchase beIN SPORTS or Universo.  How do I get game-day updates?
Fans can also follow the match on Twitter @ussoccer.