The action on the pitch at the 2022 FIFA World Cup final was some of the best we’ve ever seen in sports. While that was going on, Fox was sweating as Argentina–France crept closer and closer to the 1 PM ET NFL window.
With a 10 AM ET kickoff, there was plenty of time for the soccer match to end, but lengthy stoppage time periods, plus 30 minutes of extra time and a penalty shootout made things a bit tense for those at Fox headquarters (and probably those at the NFL). Luckily for Fox, the match ended with Argentina winning 4-2 in a penalty shootout about five minutes before Fox’s NFL broadcasts were supposed to start.
It came with a couple of casualties, though, which resulted in some fan complaints on the NFL and soccer sides. Fox NFL Sunday didn’t air. Anyone who visited the Fox Sports app hoping to see the pregame crew online was treated to a screen that said, “Your program is starting soon. Please stand by.”
We retweeted the Fox Sports PR tweet that post game will be on FS1 (is (currently simulcasting the game).
Haven’t seen NFL pregame anywhere and getting this in the app. You’ll just have to do without Terry Bradshaw this morning apparently pic.twitter.com/G59KsLTbQq
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 18, 2022
While some NFL fans were upset about that, some soccer fans were upset that the World Cup postgame show and trophy presentation would move to FS1 in favor of showing the NFL. Something that Fox Sports PR posted nearly an hour before that happened.
PROGRAMMING ALERT ?
In the event the FIFA World Cup trophy ceremony happens near or after 1PM ET, live coverage of the trophy celebration will shift to FS1 as the NFL kicks off on FOX.
— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) December 18, 2022
There’s much to criticize Fox about with their World Cup coverage, but this was the best they could do given the circumstances. Their top priority is to have the on-field gameplay on Fox, and that’s what happened. Anything that didn’t air or was pushed to cable was studio analysis or off-field celebrations. And even though it would’ve been nice to see the GOAT Lionel Messi lift the World Cup trophy on broadcast TV, it wasn’t going to keep the NFL off the air. Fox made the right decisions and had a little bit of luck go their way that the penalty shootout ended when it did.