About Copa América
Copa América History, Format, Organization, Media Coverage
The Copa America, also known as the "South American Championship," is a prestigious international football tournament organized by CONMEBOL, featuring South American national teams. Established in 1916, it is one of the world's oldest international competitions. The tournament boasts a round-robin group stage, followed by knockout rounds leading to a thrilling final.
Known for its high-quality football, intense rivalries, and passionate fan base, it showcases top talents from the continent, with renowned teams like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile regularly participating. One of the unique aspects of Copa America is its role in platforming some of the greatest talents the world has ever seen, with legends like Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi having all left an indelible mark on the tournament's history. Luis Suarez, Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Paolo Guerrero, and Gabriel Batistuta are other household names to have graced this competition.
Argentina hosted the inaugural Copa America tournament but missed out on the very first trophy to Uruguay. La Albiceleste and La Celeste dominated the first 20 editions of this beloved South American competition while Brazil won only two titles. Mexico and the USMNT made history in 1993 by becoming the first non-CONMEBOL nations invited to the Copa America, with El Tri going all the way to the final and finishing as runners-up.
While the inaugural Copa America in 1916 had no television broadcasting, the 1950s marked the emergence of televised coverage as technology advanced. The 1975 tournament, which had no fixed venue and was played throughout the continent, was a significant milestone, being the first edition widely broadcast in color, enhancing the viewing experience. Over time, technological innovations such as high-definition broadcasts and online streaming platforms have made it easier for viewers worldwide to follow their favorite teams and players.
In 1995, Prime Network exclusively offered matches in the Copa América to Americans through pay-per-view or closed-circuit theaters. Two years later, in 1997, PrimeStar and Fox Sports Direct distributed seventeen out of 26 matches, including all elimination games, while Fox Sports Americas aired the other eight first-round games and the third-place match via satellite. In 2001, Univision and Galavisión provided coverage of the tournament on broadcast television for the first time, with an average viewership of 1.4 million. In 2007, GOL TV secured English-language rights, and Univision's viewership grew to an average of 2.5 million, with online streaming introduced.
Fox Sports took over in 2016 just in time for Copa América Centenario, which marked the tournament’s 100th anniversary. This made the competition more accessible to Americans by broadcasting on FS1, FS2, and other platforms, attracting an average of 4 million viewers. In 2019, ESPN+ obtained both English and Portuguese-language rights, while Telemundo secured the Spanish-language U.S. TV rights. For the 2021 edition, TUDN retained the Spanish-language rights, and Fox Sports reclaimed the English-language rights under a six-year deal until 2026.
Copa America is a highly viewed sporting event in South America with significant interest in the USA due to its large Hispanic population. For the 2024 edition, Fox Sports will offer English-language broadcasts, while TelevisaUnivision networks will provide Spanish-language coverage. Both networks will offer extensive coverage of the tournament, with all games available to livestream or to watch on demand.