So, you like watching soccer in the afternoon, it appears. At least when the United States is in the World Cup.
Both Fox, which owns the U.S. English-speaking rights to the World Cup and NBC-owned Telemundo Deportes, which has the U.S. Spanish-language WC rights, released its viewership numbers for the 1-1 draw between the U.S. and Wales on Monday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Fox said its broadcast averaged 8.306 million viewers while Telemundo said it averaged a total audience delivery of of 3.4 million viewers (total audience delivery includes linear, digital, and streaming viewership).
- Fox’s top-rated television markets for the game were Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, San Diego and Philadelphia.
- Fox said it was the most-streamed Group Stage match in company history with an average minute audience of 563,000 viewers.
- The match peaked at 9.434 million viewers in the final minutes.
- The combined roughly 11.7 million viewers is a solid start for viewership given the game kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET and 11:00 a.m. PT.
The game represented the first World Cup appearance for the United States since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Four years ago Fox had to navigate the absence of the United States and focused its programming heavily on international stars and Russia as a 33rd character amid the 32-team draw.
Can you put this in context?
That’s honestly hard to do given we don’t have any perfect comparison. The last time the U.S. was in the World Cup was eight years ago. The U.S.’s opening Group Stage match — a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16, 2014 — drew 11.1 million viewers for a match that started at 6:00 p.m. ET. Univision added 4.8 million viewers for its coverage, which per Sports Media Watch was the network’s then-largest audience ever for a USA World Cup match. – Deitsch
Will the England-U.S. group stage game set a viewership record?
As I wrote on The Athletic last week, Fox Sports World Cup executive producer David Neal and Mike Mulvihill, the Fox Sports executive vice president of strategy and analytics, are predicting that the United States-England game on Nov. 25 will be the most-watched men’s soccer game in U.S. television history. The current mark is the 2014 World Cup game between Portugal and the United States. That match drew 18.2 million viewers on ABC and 6.5 million viewers on Univision.
Along with a famous opponent in England on Black Friday, Fox will get the benefit of an avalanche of promotion, including a soccer-centric float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and a heavy push during their Giants-Cowboys Thanksgiving afternoon NFL game — a time slot and host team that drew over 38 million viewers for CBS last Thanksgiving. – Deitsch
(Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran / USA Today)