World Cup TV – Your guide to watching the 2018 World Cup
The FIFA World Cup 2018 is nearly upon us with excitement building as we countdown for kick-off in Russia. Whether you are travelling across the globe to watch your nation or just crowding round the TV with family and friends, the World Cup brings people together, with fans from everywhere desperate to see the action.
Given the importance of the trophy and the buzz that it brings, it won’t surprise you to hear that the World Cup attracts more viewers than even the Olympics and Russia won’t be any different. Whether it’s online, on your mobile or just on your TV at home, everyone will be keeping their eyes on events in Russia this summer.
Here at OpenOdds we are committed to providing you with everything you need to know about the prestigious tournament and here we will run down how you can watch it on TV. Firstly, we will give you a brief insight into the history of the World Cup on our screens before detailing how you can watch the games this summer, including the England fixtures!
How it all started
It wasn’t until 1954 that the World Cup was shown on TV and even then it wasn’t the most ideal circumstances for many fans.
The BBC had the rights for the games, however you didn’t get a say in which games were shown. Plus, they only selected a handful.
That meant that English supporters had to watch Hungary beat West Germany instead of England who were playing Switzerland at the same time. As you would expect, there were no quick highlights to catch up on the other games either. Instead, you had to wait three days before they were accessible!
As the tournament advanced, only the second half of the quarter-finals were shown and one semi-final didn’t get any airtime. Yet, 1954 was the beginning as it displayed that there was a demand for fans to watch football and that would continue throughout the years.
Four years later, ITV was established and they, along with the BBC, sent reporters over to Sweden to cover the tournament although once again they had no say in which matches were broadcast.
By this stage though, watching on TV was becoming even more appealing to football fans with many said to have returned tickets in order to watch the game at home. It prompted the Swedish FA to suggest that they had missed out in revenue because of the TV.
Again, things would gradually increase but it wasn’t until 1970 that we had the next major breakthrough in watching football on TV.
The introduction of colour TV
Mexico 1970 is memorable for many reasons, with football fans sure to remember the marvellous Brazil side, inspired by Pele, that went on to win the World Cup and are still considered one of the best sides to ever play the game.
However, it was also the first World Cup to appear in colour on our screens and saw broadcasters have much more influence in proceedings as they do now.
For example, many games were played at noon in Mexico, even though the players would suffer in the sweltering heat. But, that was at the request of the European TV companies who wanted to ensure their viewers could watch the fixtures at peak times.
As well as that, they had sent over large teams to cover the tournament, with several commentators, presenters and also pundits in the form of ex-players. Whilst this had happened before, it was still a big thing and added to the experience of watching the games.
As you would expect, as the technology improved over the years, so did the quality on the TV, with more and more games shown in better quality.
Similarly, the broadcasting rights would grow year on year, with more TV companies desperate to get a slice of the action.
South Africa 2010 was arguably the next landmark moment with every game available on Freeview HD and on your mobile phones. Whether it was England you wanted to watch or a dead rubber in the group, the game was never more than a few clicks away, which is exactly how it will be in Russia.
TV details for Russia
As mentioned, every game at the 2018 World Cup will be available for fans to view in the UK, no matter who you want to watch. They will also be able to be viewed on your computer, phone, tablets etc. as well as the TV.
Additionally, once again the games will be split between ITV and BBC who will share the broadcasting rights for the World Cup. Russia will be the fourteenth consecutive tournament that the two have broadcast together, dating back to ’66 when England lifted the trophy on their home turf.
It also means that every game will be free to watch for England fans which obviously explains why the World Cup is the most watched sporting event around. Almost 75% of the UK population tuned in for the tournament in South Africa eight years ago.
As for the rest of the world, over 90 countries will show the games, with way over 100 broadcasters signing up to deliver the games. Inevitably, that has brought the biggest broadcast deal ever, with FIFA set to bring in over £1.1bn for the four-year cycle between 2018 and 2022.
How to watch England
For many people, all they will care about is watching the Three Lions, even if they don’t harbour much hope for the chances of Gareth Southgate’s men in Russia.
Anyway, as we’ve said the games are shown on ITV and BBC meaning everyone will get to watch them. Here’s how the group games will be scheduled on TV;
Monday, June 18 – Tunisia vs England – 7pm, BBC
Sunday, June 24 – England vs Panama – 1pm, BBC
Thursday, June 28 – England vs Belgium – 7pm, ITV
Then, should England progress, ITV will have the first pick when it comes to the round of 16 matches. Whilst it’s not confirmed, they are almost certain to show the Three Lions should they advance.
After that, again if they’ve made it, BBC will get the first two selections for the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, the final is shown by both broadcasters.
The vast majority of group games will be shown at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in UK time, with three games shown most days.
However, for the final round of matches, all four teams from a group will play at the same time, with matches at 3pm and 7pm on those days, with two groups playing in the same day.
Again, every game will be shown live on TV and will be accessible online throughout the tournament.
Ultimately, the World Cup is the biggest event in football and arguably sport and thankfully TV recognises that. Whether it’s watching Panama and Iceland play in the prestigious tournament for the first time, an inevitable England penalty shootout defeat or just watching Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at their last World Cup, you will not have to miss a kick this summer. Enjoy!