When Fox Sports won the bid to broadcast the 2018 World Cup, they definitely planned to build their promotional campaign and tournament coverage around the US Men’s National Team. Bad idea.
The USMNT won’t be in Russia — and neither will most Fox Sports announcers. Fox announced that only four of the 12 analysts will make the trip to the tournament. The rest will narrate the TV broadcast from swivel chairs in the Los Angeles studios — just like us normies who will open Chrome incognito windows to watch games at our work computers and bang out live commentary on WhatsApp threads with our friends.
Fox’s cost-cutting move is a cynical answer to all the “Will Americans still care?” media analysis inspired by the USMNT’s impotence.
I wonder how many people will tune out because of the US’ absence. Sure, Fox Sports will miss the ratings generated by 3 or 4 US games, but would the US’ presence actually translate into bigger audiences for, say, Tunisia v Panama on June 28 or Iran v Morocco on June 15? No way.
But stores and companies around New York City get that and they continue to embrace the World Cup.
That’s why Paragon Sports in Union Square remodeled their basement to showcase World Cup merchandise and why the Adidas store just north of Houston Street has dedicated a huge chunk of its ground floor to the national teams they outfit, like Mexico, Spain and Colombia. The Downtown Brooklyn Modell’s has stacks of Panini sticker books in front of the register.
And even convenience stores are stocking Russia 2018 souvenirs:
“soccer will never make it in america” “nobody in the US will care about the world cup without the MNT in it” Walgreens is selling Panini books at the registers
— Gaby Kirschner (@gabykirschner) April 29, 2018
Soccer finally made it in the US?.
Duane Reade has Panini World Cup stickers! pic.twitter.com/HKaTLYmzo4
— Kyle Schnitzer (@Kyle_Schnitzer) March 23, 2018