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Why the North American World Cup Matters, Plus a Sports Betting Update

Benjamin Rains
Is (HRS) Outperforming Other Computer and Technology Stocks This Year?

Welcome to the latest episode of the of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. With the 2018 FIFA World Cup underway, Ben Rains dives into why it is so important that the 2026 World Cup is coming to North America. Rains then discusses all of the latest happenings in the sports betting world, as more companies get in on the action.

The U.S. didn’t make the World Cup for the first time since 1986, which will likely impact Fox’s FOXA coverage this summer. However, the company also holds the rights to the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, along with Spanish-language network Telemundo, which is owned by NBCUniversal CMCSA. The 2026 bid was a little shady and upset the likes of ESPN DIS and others—helping FIFA live up to its somewhat poor reputation.

But with the United States set to host 60 games in 2026—many of which are likely to be in primetime—in what will be the first 48-team World Cup, Fox and Telemundo look to be the clear winners. More matches, more teams, and primetime games will likely attract many more companies on top of the major players Coca-Cola KO, Visa V, Budweiser BUD, McDonald’s MCD, Adidas ADDYY, and Nike NKE.

Moving onto sports betting, a small soccer related partnership between William Hill WIMHY and Las Vegas Lights FC, of the United Soccer League USL, will see the betting company become the soccer team’s official sports book. The deal will allow fans to make live in-game bets through William Hill’s mobile app—partnerships like this are sure to become more commonplace as legalized sports betting becomes more popular.

Sports gambling is now up and running in Delaware and New Jersey. Daily fantasy giant DraftKings has already applied for a sports betting license in New Jersey, which could kick off a wave of established companies, including Wynn WYNN and MGM MGM, rolling out sports betting locations and platforms throughout the country.

Meanwhile, investors should pay attention to tech companies, like Microsoft MSFT, Sony SNE, and even Twitter TWTR, to see if they utilize their infrastructure to get in on the massive mobile sports betting scene. It will also be worth keeping an eye out for any sports betting acquisitions, as startups are sure to pop up. 

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