From TV Deals to VR, Here's Everything Investors Need to Know About the FIFA World Cup

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Welcome to a 2018 FIFA World Cup episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. This week, Ben Rains dives into everything that investors and casual fans need to know about the world's biggest sporting event before it kicks off in Russia on Thursday.

The first game of the World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia starts at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. The match begins a 64-game tournament that will likely be watched by billions of people in more than 200 countries over the next month, culminating with the final on July 15.

American soccer fans will be able to watch every game of the World Cup live on Fox FOXA or FS1, with streaming available through multiple Fox apps as well as on services such as YouTube TV GOOGL . Fox and Spanish-language network Telemundo, which is owned by NBCUniversal CMCSA , won the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the U.S. for roughly $1 billion combined.

Fox's coverage will feature more games on network television than were aired during the last four World Cups combined-most of which were on ESPN DIS . However, none of these games will feature the U.S., who failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986, possibly hurting Fox's coverage.

Meanwhile, fans will be able to create their own highlight packages dating back to 1958, through a Fox platform, powered by IBM's IBM Watson AI technology. The BBC is set to broadcast all their matches live in virtual reality as well as in 4K Ultra HD.

With that said, some of the most well-known companies in the world also spend upwards of $50 million a year to sponsor FIFA and the World Cup. This list includes the likes of Coca-Cola KO , Visa V , Qatar Airways, Budweiser BUD , McDonald's MCD , and many more.

Aside from Fox and some of the major World Cup sponsors, sportswear giants Adidas ADDYY and Nike NKE will take center stage in Russia. The two companies lead the way in jersey sponsorships, while German sportswear maker Puma and New Balance will also see their logos plastered all over the world for the next month-notably left off this list is Under Armour UAA

The 2018 World Cup also features some of the biggest stars in the world including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar. The three men are not just a few of the most well-known soccer players, they are also some of the richest and most famous entertainers in the world. All three landed in the top five of Forbes' recent highest paid athletes list and rank among the most followed accounts in the world on Instagram FB .

Listen to the full episode to hear everything you might need to know about the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while also giving yourself a leg up on the soccer-based conversations that are likely to take place over the next month-and for years to come.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts , and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: IBM , DIS , FB , GOOGL , BUD

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