How can cord cutters watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup? In Spanish, to begin with.

Say, like many of us, the 2022 FIFA World Cup starting on Sunday has slipped your mind, given the unusual time of year and the demands of the approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Let’s say you fall into the same category as 54% of respondents to a recent national YouGov poll who no longer subscribe to cable. And for the sake of argument, let’s also say that you don’t have regular access to live TV, either through a digital antenna or a live TV streaming service.

And, even if you’re not usually a fan of live sports, is an event you’ve always enjoyed watching and want the tradition to continue. In the short term, what is your best recourse to ensure that you can watch all the games?

For many Americans, the answer turns to a new version of an old friend: national Spanish-language television production, this time provided by Telemundo and available through NBC Universal’s Peacock Premium service.

While FOX will broadcast 34 of the tournament’s 64 games live — up from an American record of 38 games live in 2018 — the network still isn’t reliably available with a digital antenna in every American home. The remaining 30 games will air via cable on FS1, and FOX doesn’t have an independent streaming service equal to Peacock. With no cable or antenna, a streaming version of his production is only available through third-party live TV subscriptions that typically cost north of $60 a month or the Fox Sports app. These require user authentication to prove that a viewer is also a paying cable subscriber.

By contrast, Peacock Premium will air all 64 World Cup shows from Spanish-language network Telemundo and sister cable station Universo, which are also properties of NBCUniversal. Peacock’s service with ads is available for $4.99 per month. And with the World Cup condensed into 29 days this time around and the first 12 matches of the tournament available for free on the service, a subscriber whose only desire is to watch the World Cup could be in and out for just a month.

The overall share of Americans who would fall into the group of Peacock subscribers just for the World Cup might be small. But given the stature of the event, it cannot be this little. And overall, it carries on the national tradition that the biggest sporting event in the world is more accessible to viewers in Spanish than in English.

This is only the second time that Telemundo has held the Spanish language rights for the tournament. But rival Univision held the rights from 1990 to 2014, serving as a reliable World Cup home for a generation of Americans of all languages ​​who did not subscribe to cable but received the network over the air.

And in the early parts of the digital age, Univision provided streaming World Cup matches from its website for free, without the user authentication required by ESPN and ABC then or FOX now.

And the emergence of Peacock as an affordable streaming option, this tournament comes at a perfect time. Much like 2018 – which preceded Peacock’s launch in 2020 – the majority of games will be played in the morning or early afternoon, when people are more likely to have more access to phones or computers than to computers. televisions.

And unlike 2018, the US team qualified for the 2022 tournament. The Mexican national team (which has qualified for every tournament since 1994) generally gets higher ratings on Spanish-language television than the US national team, but the margins are smaller and the Americans are a clear second. In the 2014 tournament, the most-watched Mexican game had 6.8 million viewers on Univision against the most-watched US game with 6.5 million viewers.

If significant chunks of that kind of audience shift into the realm of streaming, we could consider this the first major streaming World Cup. And given how much easier it is to find a unique streaming option on Peacock, this will also be another area where American Spanish-language media has been leading the way.

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