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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Fox Nabs 13 Million Viewers in USA’s Loss to The Netherlands

  • World Cup Round of 16 match 163% above average at same stage in 2018.
  • Second-most streamed match of 2022 Qatar event.
USMNT players, including Christian Pulisic, thank fans after losing World Cup match to 
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Predictions for the death of 2022 World Cup TV ratings in the U.S. look like they’ve been greatly exaggerated.

Fox Sports drew nearly 13 million viewers for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 3-1 loss to The Netherlands Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, it was Team USA’s swan song. But the viewership was up 163% from Fox’s Round of 16 average for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (in which the U.S. did not participate).

  • Viewership peaked at 16.3 million viewers between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m. ET as the Americans tried to come back from a daunting 2-0 deficit against the Dutch.
  • The top five TV markets were Cincinnati, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Kansas City, and Austin.
  • The match was Fox’s second-most streamed of the 2022 World Cup so far, notching an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 596,850 across the company’s streaming platforms.

Challenging game window

On Saturday, Fox faced significant challenges. The USA vs. The Netherlands match started at 10 a.m. ET. 

That’s a difficult game window; especially for the West Coast audience.

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Even so, soccer fans poured into bars and parties to cheer on Team USA.

Nielsen’s addition of so-called “out-of-home” viewers in bars and restaurants to total viewership helped mitigate concerns that TV ratings would collapse from FIFA’s decision to shift the 2022 World Cup to late Fall from its normal Summer schedule.

As Sports Media Watch noted: “The return of the U.S. after nearly a decade, not to mention the inclusion of out-of-home viewing, is undoubtedly greasing the skids. Nevertheless, this World Cup was supposed to be a ratings disaster given the time of year — hence FIFA awarding FOX the 2026 tournament as a consolation — and has instead delivered some of the best numbers for soccer in recent memory on both English and Spanish-language TV.”

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