Fox, Telemundo release World Cup viewership numbers for U.S. game

So, it looks like you like to watch football in the afternoon. At least when the United States is in the World Cup.

Both Fox, which owns the U.S. English-language rights to the World Cup, and NBC-owned Telemundo Deportes, which has the Spanish-language rights to the WC in the U.S., released their viewership numbers for the 1-1 draw between the U.S. and Wales in 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 3.4 million viewers (total audience delivery includes linear, digital and streaming viewers).
  • 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 the company’s 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 to viewing considering the game started at 2:00 PM ET and 11:00 AM PT.
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The game marks the first World Cup appearance for the United States since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Four years ago, Fox had to deal with the absence of the United States and focused its programming on international stars and Russia as the 33rd hero among the 32-team draw.

Can you put this in context?

It’s honestly hard to do given that we don’t have a perfect comparison. The last time the USA was in the World Cup was eight years ago. The USA’s first group stage game – a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16, 2014 – drew 11.1 million viewers for a game that started at 6:00 PM ET. Univision added 4.8 million viewers for its coverage, which Sports Media Watch said was the network’s largest audience for a World Cup game in the U.S. at the time. – Dyche

Will the England-USA group stage match set a viewership record?

As I wrote on Athletic last week, Fox Sports World Cup executive producer David Neal and Mike Mulvihill, executive vice president of strategy and analytics for Fox Sports, predicted that the game between the United States and England on Nov. 25 would be the most-watched men’s soccer game in U.S. television history . The current mark is the 2014 World Cup match between Portugal and the United States. That game drew 18.2 million viewers on ABC and 6.5 million viewers on Univision.

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Along with a big-name opponent in England on Black Friday, Fox will benefit from a flurry of promotions, including a football-centric run in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a heavy push during their Thanksgiving afternoon Giants-Cowboys NFL game – time slot and anchor team that drew over 38 million viewers for CBS last Thanksgiving. – Dyche

Required reading

(Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today)


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