TV Ratings: World Cup Coverage Posts Strong Second Day

Fox Sports sees a 75 percent lift from the modest Russia kickoff.
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It’s quite clear that the 2018 World Cup in Russia stands no chance of living up to the lofty ratings highs of Brazil four years ago, but Day 2 brought much more promising numbers than the soft opener.

Overnight returns for Friday coverage of the games give Spain and Portugal’s 3-3 draw a 2.6 rating among metered market households for Fox Sports. That’s up 75 from the previous day’s opener. 

Telemundo’s scores were not immediately available. 

Thursday’s final tallies saw Fox Sports pulling 39 percent of what ESPN did the same day in 2014, while Telemundo earned just 35 percent of what Univision did that same day and year. (This World Cup marks the first of a 12-year deal that sees stateside rights go to Fox and Telemundo for English- and Spanish-language coverage, respectively.) 

The 2014 World Cup was always going to be impossible to live up to. In addition to the more favorable Brazilian time zones, the U.S. team performed quite well, culminating in the most-watched men's soccer game in American history, with 18.2 million viewing the U.S.' loss to Portugal on ESPN. (The top-rated soccer match of all time in the U.S. remains the 2015 Women's World Cup final, which drew 25.4 million viewers on Fox Sports.)

All told, ESPN’s 2010 coverage of the matches averaged 4.6 million viewers over the course of the month. Univision averaged 3.5 million viewers. Both were records for World Cup coverage.