Fox Nears Sellout for World Cup Final Match

Fox Sports is nearing a sellout for the World Cup final between France and Croatia in Russia on Sunday.

As of Thursday morning there were two spots left and Fox says it has multiple offers for those units.

Prices appear to be rising as the tournament nears its conclusion, with at least one spot going for $750,000, according to Fox.

Research company SQAD said that through Wednesday, advertisers had paid between $399,451 and $474,963 for 30-second spots during the World Cup Final.

Advertisers paid between $448,512 and $534,206 four years ago, 12% more, when the World Cup games were on ABC and ESPN.

Fox’s ad sales hopes were dampened when the U.S. team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, depriving the network of at least to high-rated contests. Because they’re being played in Russia, most World Cup viewing is happening in the afternoon. Four years ago, the Cup was in Brazil and many of those games were in primetime.

But shortly before the World Cup kicked off, both Fox and Telemundo, which has the Spanish language rights to the tournament, said they were nearing their ad sales goals.

Heading into the semi-final round, the World Cup had generated $223.6 million in ad revenue, according to an estimate by iSpot.TV, with 8,668 ads airing across six networks in the U.S. Streaming revenue is not included in the iSpot.TV figures.

The top spender has been Volkswagen with more than $18 million.

Other big spenders include Verizon and Sprint, each of which has spent more than $10 million.

The rest of the top 10 advertisers on the World Cup have been Ford, McDonald’s, Apple, Universal Pictures, Google, GEICO and Toyota.

Fox said that this week’s World Cup semifinals averaged a 4.1 rating and 12 share in metered markets. That’s down 2% from ESPN’s average in 2014, but up 46% from ESPN’s average for the 2010 tournament.

But Wednesday’s match, with Croatia beating England in extra time, drew a 4.5/13, up 5% from the Netherlands-Argentina semi-final four years ago.

For Fox, the top 5 local markets for Croatia-England were Austin, with a 7.4/23; San Francisco, 7.1/26; Washington, D.C., 6.921; Providence, 6.0/16 and San Diego, 5.9/17.

Telemundo’s ratings for England-Croatia were down 35% from the Netherlands-Argentina semifinal four years ago.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.