Sunday December 3, 2023

US World Cup Opener Viewership Lags Behind Last Two Appearances

  • Fox averages 8.3 million viewers for English-language coverage.
  • Both the 2014 and 2010 openers drew more, but they were in more traditional viewing windows.
USMNT Christian Pulisic reaches for leg in pain during World Cup match against Wales
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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The U.S. men’s national team’s first match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar drew nearly 12 million television viewers.

While it was the most streamed Group Stage match in Fox Sports history with an AMA of 563,000 viewers, overall it lagged behind the last two appearances for the Americans.

But, given the rarity of playing in the fall — and the 2 p.m. ET kickoff on a Monday — it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

  • The 1-1 draw between USA and Wales averaged a combined 11.71 million viewers on Fox Sports and Telemundo Monday.
  • Fox’s English-language coverage averaged 8.3 million viewers across broadcast and digital platforms. Telemundo’s Spanish-language coverage averaged 3.4 million viewers. 
  • The match peaked at 9.4 million viewers on Fox from 3:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

Fox’s viewership trailed that for the USMNT’s opening matches at both the 2014 Brazil World Cup in (11.1M, ESPN) and 2010 South Africa World Cup (13M, ABC), noted Sports Media Watch

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Those matches not only took place in the traditional summer months, but the 2014 opener was later in the day and the 2010 opener was on a Sunday.

Still, Fox said the first three-match average of 4,026,000 was up 193% from the first three matches of 2018.

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