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NFL, World Cup ad revenue boost results

Striker, The U.S. Soccer Star balloon from Fox Sports is waked in the 2022 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade past Columbus Circle in honor of the U.S. Mens National Team competing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 24, 2022 in New York City.

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Fox Corp said Wednesday it will rake in a record amount of Super Bowl ad revenue as it reported a boost in its fiscal second quarter results.

The strong quarter was due in large part to a sports event slate that included the men’s World Cup and NFL Sunday games. Class A shares of the company rose about 5% on Wednesday.

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The company said its advertising revenue during the quarter increased 4%, attributing it to live events like the Qatar World Cup, which aired during November and December. Ad revenue also got a boost from political advertising due to the midterm elections, as well as Fox’s free ad-supported streamer Tubi. 

The positive advertising picture came as the industry has been contending with a challenging advertising market. In recent months, major media companies like Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery, which have portfolios of entertainment cable-TV channels in addition to sports and news outlets, have warned of the worsening ad market weighing on their businesses. 

NFL and college football games helped drive ratings and advertising revenue, Fox executives said Wednesday. 

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Wednesday the company hasn’t been seeing the soft advertising market that its peers have described in recent months. Instead, he said, they see the market being “fluid and money coming in late,” but Fox is still hitting goals and revenue targets, attributing it to their portfolio of live sports and news.

The company’s broadcast network will air the Super Bowl on Sunday, which is known to be the marquee event for advertisers. Murdoch said Wednesday it will be a record Super Bowl for the company with about $600 million in gross advertising revenue coming in.

“The money came in late for Super Bowl advertising, so we had some nervous moments,” Murdoch said. “But it will be a record Super Bowl for us in terms of total revenue and what we achieved for each spot.”

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Fox A class shares performance

Fox has said its sold out on commercial spots for the Super Bowl, with peak prices at more than $7 million for 30-second spots. 

Fox said its fiscal second quarter revenue increased 4% to $4.61 billion compared to the same period last year. 

Murdoch said on a call with investors Wednesday that the company has “flourished” since spinning off its entertainment assets to Disney, as its focused on live sports and news. 

The company’s free streaming service, Tubi, continued to be a bright spot as Fox’s answer to the streaming wars. Tubi saw a 25% increase in ad revenue during the quarter, and a rise in viewership, with December being its highest viewership and engagement month ever. Murdoch said the company would continue to invest and grow Tubi, noting it requires minimal investment compared to its peers in the streaming space.

On Wednesday, Murdoch also briefly addressed that he and his father called off the proposed merger between Fox and News Corp in recent weeks after determining it wasn’t an optimal time for the combination to take place. He added that the rationale behind the deal was about scale, flexibility and synergies.

Murdoch added that the company is open to potential mergers and acquisitions opportunities. “We don’t have anything on the table today, but I think we are in a strong position,” Murdoch said.

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