Fox Sports Host Rob Stone Talks USA-Mexico and Network's 2018 World Cup Coverage Plans

Fox Sports Host Rob Stone Talks USA-Mexico and Network's 2018 World Cup Coverage Plans

Glass Half Empty Podcast

Fox Sports Host Rob Stone Talks USA-Mexico and Network's 2018 World Cup Coverage Plans


Rob Stone joins the podcast again this week. He will be anchoring FS1’s coverage of the World Cup qualifier match between USA and Mexico, beginning at 7pm ET Friday night.

We started out by discussing the implications of the game, and the pronounced home field advantage that the USMNT has had in Columbus in the four dos a cero games. We also talked about the potential impact of Christian Pulisic, what it means for Tim Howard to be back in goal, and which players on Mexico to keep an eye out for. (After soccer, we also spent about 10 minutes talking about the contemporary WWE product.)

At the 15-minute mark, we had this exchange:

RG: Amongst people who are very into soccer, I think there is a little bit of trepidation with the World Cup moving away from ESPN, because there was the impression that they did a really good job. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Fox, but Fox is an unknown while ESPN had done a great job with it. With Copa America, there was a little bit of criticism when the analysts picked the United States to beat Argentina and then they went out and got thrashed, and then there was a little bit of criticism that the studio coverage was remote. As far as Russia in 2018 goes, what are the plans for the expansiveness of the studio show and things of that nature?

RS: When you are dealing with Russia, you have different rules and regulations. Clearly our goal — look, I’m not an executive, I’m just a talking head who wears makeup, who loves the sport dearly — and what I feel comfortable saying is every indication is we are trying to get into Moscow. We have locations. We have backup locations. We have backup backup locations in Moscow and other cities. We will be in Russia. There’s no disputing that.

You hit me with a lot of questions, so I’ll start at the beginning. ESPN: Did they do a great job with the World Cup? Hell yeah they did. Absolutely. I was proud to be a part of several of those broadcasts with Alexi Lalas through the years. I love my compadres over at ESPN. They did a wonderful job bringing the sport up, picking it up by its bootstraps.

What their upper tier management did to make the World Cup a priority is off the charts, and years down the road people are going to write about what John Skipper did for soccer in the United States. He made it a priority. He changed the concept of this sport at ESPN, in Bristol, and all the other surrounding tentacles that ESPN has.

But if you have questions about how we at Fox are going to handle the World Cup I want to say you’re joking, right? Please go back to two summers ago and look at what we did for the Women’s World Cup. Unparalleled production, exposure, care, and respect for the product. The product that is women’s soccer, the product that is the FIFA World Cup.

Please: there is nothing to be worried about. At all. You have no clue how much is going on behind the scenes right now, getting ourselves ready for Russia. Look, the road to Russia starts Friday, and frankly you can say it started back with the Confederation Cup activities leading up to what teams are going to be in there. We will have boots on the ground in Russia for the Confederation Cup. We are covering the Confederation Cup draw. We care intensely about World Cup qualifying.

We are off-the-charts planning these weekly and monthly meetings about the road to Russia, and how everything is going to take place in Russia, and the budget needs, and the humans that are coming. Half of it you may not see on our air right now, but you will see that summer in Russia. It is all happening.

I know I should be saying this, but I really honestly mean it because I do care what the soccer fan and viewer out there thinks, and I do want them to know: You’re gonna be okay. It’s gonna be alright. You are gonna walk away and say, “They did me right.” Honestly, please believe me.

It’s the same speech I thought I had to give in front of the Women’s World Cup, and I think by all accounts we exceeded expectations in front of the camera, with our production, with our ad sales, with the respect that we got and how we respected the sport and the tournament.

The FIFA World Cup in Russia is in good hands. Trust me.

Disclosure: The Big Lead’s editor-in-chief Jason McIntyre is an on-air personality for FS1’s Speak for Yourself.

Listen on iTunes | Listen on Stitcher | Download | Subscribe

Podcast produced by Michael Shamburger



▶ Fox Sports Host Kevin Burkhardt Talks World Series, Working With A-Rod, Pete Rose, + Frank Thomas

▶ Cari Champion Signs New Multi-Year Deal With ESPN, Discusses Expanded SportsCenter + More

▶ Scott Van Pelt on What’s Gone Right in a Year of Midnight SportsCenter

Colin Cowherd Discusses His New Digital Venture

Fox Sports Soccer Analyst Alexi Lalas Talks Timbers-Sounders, Champions League, and Hope Solo

A Conversation With Kristine Leahy, Broadcaster on American Ninja Warrior and FS1’s The Herd

Felix Salmon Dissects the Ramifications of Gawker’s Bankruptcy Filing

Talking All Things Media With CNN Poly-Platformist Brian Stelter

Copa America 2016: Rob Stone of Fox Sports Breaks Down the Nuts and Bolts

The Pro Wrestling Reporter Who Left TMZ to Start Up His Own Shop

Rockets Need a Rebuild; Is Daryl Morey the Right Person for that Job?

Richard Deitsch Talks Bayless, Tirico, and Possible First Take Replacements

A Conversation With Sarah Spain

Ahman Green Talks About Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Eddie Lacy

Nicole Auerbach Discusses Tyler Summitt’s Resignation, and the Aftermath

Mike Florio: Average Fans Should Care About Josh Gordon Confidentiality Breach (Previous podcasts with Florio on Deflategate and his own career are here and here)

Dave Kindred Shares Memories of Covering The Masters for 50 Years

Turner Sports Announcer Brian Anderson Talks NCAA Tourney, Career, and Hank the Dog

Chris Russo Talks One-Night Mike and the Mad Dog Reunion, Adam LaRoche, and Tom Brady

Should LeBron Bear More Responsibility for Love and Kyrie “Fitting In?” (With Cleveland sports talk host Anthony Lima)

Sally Jenkins Talks Tennessee, NCAA Pay, Deflategate, Joe Paterno, and Lance Armstrong

What Does PC Twitter Even Mean? (With Jason McIntyre and Barstool’s Big Cat)

A Conversation With Linda Cohn, Whose Record 5000th SportsCenter Is on the Horizon

Woj Discusses Launching The Vertical, LeBron and Blatt, and What Would Make Hacking Stop

Barstool and Its Bloggers Bet on Mainstream Viability

Would Jay Bilas Advise Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey to Sit Out Next Season?

Asking Darren Rovell If and When LeBron James Will Be a Billionaire

Peter King Talks NFL Refs, MMQB*

Peter Mehlman Compares and Contrasts Crafting Novel With Writing for Howard Cosell and Seinfeld

Christine Brennan’s Talks About Greg Hardy, NFL Media, and Advice for Young Writers

A Conversation With Michael Wilbon

Bill Plaschke Talks About Lamar Odom and the Curse of the Kardashians

Was Urban Meyer Okay With Players Asking Taylor Swift Out?

Ex-Vikings Mascot Ragnar Tells His Side of the Story

Brett Taylor, the Cubs Blogger Who Left a Big Law Firm

Gary Sheffield Talks MLB Playoffs, Harper-Papelbon, and Hall of Fame

Scott Van Pelt Talks Midnight SportsCenter, Madison As Best College Sports Town in America

Matthew Berry Has Like 45 Jobs

Jim Ross Talks About His Live Show, Roddy Piper, and Steroids in Hollywood

Clay Travis Talks SEC Media Days, New Deal With Fox Sports, and the Confederate Flag

A Long Conversation With Frank Deford

Does Sarah Spain worry that her politics will make her polarizing?

David Purdum talks about Tony Romo, fantasy football, and the NFL’s gambling hypocrisies 

Dan Le Batard talks about his career, Papi, and Bill Simmons

Kenny Smith before the NBA conference finals

*denotes Pigsplosion podcast

Latest Leads

More Soccer