Photographer: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

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Telemundo Sells Out 2018 World Cup Ads, Raises Revenue Goals

Telemundo, the big Spanish-language TV network, said it has met its $225 million revenue goal for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, less than a week before the event kicks off in Moscow.

The NBCUniversal unit, which has Spanish-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups across the U.S., said it sold out the advertising across its broadcast and digital properties. Given the potential for future promos and other new inventory, the network raised its revenue goal for the event to $250 million.

This is a strange World Cup from the U.S broadcast perspective. Both networks are new: Telemundo took the Spanish rights after Univision held them for almost 50 years, while Fox outbid ABC/ESPN, which has been the English-language broadcaster since 1994. And both have had to adjust after the U.S. team shockingly failed to qualify for the event.

The U.S. team’s absence, its first since 1986, suggests a smaller American audience, especially for Fox. The Mexican national team, which did qualify, is a major draw for Spanish-language viewers, as are teams from countries like Argentina and Spain.

Telemundo paid $600 million for rights to the two World Cups. Fox, which paid $400 million for the English-language rights, is only sending four of its 12 announcers to Russia. The other eight will call games from a studio in Los Angeles. The network reduced the audience it guaranteed advertisers and cut its projections for ad sales by about $20 million.

NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corp., expects the Spanish-language broadcasts will appeal to non-Spanish speakers as well. NBCUniversal plans to promote the games outside of Telemundo and will show some in Spanish on NBCSN, the NBC Sports cable channel.

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