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World Cup Opener Viewership Blows Past 2018 Numbers

  • The World Cup Opener in Qatar Sunday was watched by over 7 million television viewers in the U.S.
  • Fox and Telemundo numbers up 88% and 164%, respectively, from 2018 opener.
Qatar national team player attempts cross against Ecuador during World Cup match
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The World Cup Opener in Qatar Sunday was watched by over 7 million television viewers in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

Fox Sports’ English-language coverage of Ecuador’s 2-0 victory over host Qatar was watched by 3.228 million viewers on the FS1 cable network and other platforms. 

Another 4 million viewers watched Spanish-language coverage across Telemundo, Peacock, and Telemundo Deportes. 

Fox and Telemundo bought U.S. TV rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for a combined $1 billion. More:

  • Fox’s viewership was up 88% from the 2018 World Cup Opener, which featured host country Russia tallying a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Telemundo’s audience was up 164% from the 2018 Opener.
  • Monday’s 1-1 tie between the U.S. and Wales was watched by 11.5 million viewers on the BBC, according to Deadline. U.S. viewership numbers are expected to roll in on Wednesday.
  • With this year’s World Cup shifting to the fall from its normal summer time, Fox’s and Telemundo’s coverage will have to compete this weekend against college football and NFL games. 
USMNT fan watches TV showing team roster

World Cup Takes On NFL, College Football For U.S. Viewers

World Cup matches will compete against NFL games this weekend.
November 21, 2022

But Fox executives are not complaining.

Between Thanksgiving’s New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys NFL game, Black Friday’s U.S.-England World Cup match, Saturday’s Michigan-Ohio State college football game, and Sunday’s full slate of NFL games, Fox Sports chief executive officer Eric Shanks expects 120 million viewers.

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