World Cup Ratings a Mixed Bag for U.S. Networks

MOSCOW--For the two U.S. broadcasters covering the 2018 World Cup, viewership results are a contrast in ratings, with Spanish language network Telemundo drawing record ratings while Fox is reporting lower numbers compared to similar coverage in 2014. 

Telemundo is garnering record viewership and audience engagement with its coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The U.S. Spanish language network, which reaches 94 percent of U.S. Spanish-speaking households says nearly 20 million viewers have watched the world’s largest sporting event in its first three days of coverage, according to Nielsen.

Daytime viewership for Monday’s three-match coverage averaged 1.1 million viewers, ranking as the network’s most-watched Monday daytime on record. Record viewing numbers were also set for Saturday, with 1.9 million daytime viewers. Sunday’s TV-only viewership average for Mexico-Germany of 6.56 million viewers was the most viewed World Cup group stage match on Spanish-language TVand any Mexico World Cup group stage match in any language on any network, according to Telemundo.

Read: Fox, Telemundo Offer A Clearer View Of FIFA World Cup Russia]

Through five days, Telemundo’s World Cup digital presentation has reached 4.9 million total unique users, generating 27.1 million livestreams and 362 million total minutes viewed. In addition, Telemundo Deportes fans are showing significantly high engagement with over 500K social actions to date, across all social platforms and its fan base has grown by over 71,000 through the first five days.

For Fox, however, the absence of a U.S. team has predictably hurt ratings. The network's broadcast of the Mexico-Germany match on Sunday averaged more than four million viewers and Brazil's match with Switzerland garnered slightly more, at 4.1 million. 

In comparison, when the U.S. mens team competed in 2010 and 2014, those games, broadcast on ESPN brought in more than 13.1 million and approximately 11.1 viewers respectively. 

The number of viewers tuning into the network's coverage of the PGA’s U.S. Open final round on Sunday actually exceeded its coverage of soccer, earning a 3.6 overnight rating among metered market households. 

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.