Ratings Roundup: 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals, Semifinals Give Way to Championship Match

Ratings roundup is a rundown of rating news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the last two teams are standing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup after quarterfinal and semifinal action, MLB on Fox has a solid first half, and Wednesday night’s Red Sox game concluded as the highest rated of the season.

2018 FIFA World Cup Semifinals Frontlined by Croatian Upset of England
Wednesday’s FIFA World Cup Semifinal that saw first-time finalist Croatia defeat favored England 2-1 in extra time, scored 5,504,000 viewers on the Fox broadcast network and set an all-time FIFA World Cup Semifinal streaming record.

Peaking at nearly 7.5 million viewers (7,495,000), the match was up +61% from the Spain-Germany match in the corresponding 2010 window (3,425,000), and up +75% from the Portugal-France match in the corresponding 2006 window (3,137,000). Against 2014’s match, televised in a more favorable time zone, the match was virtually flat, down less than just one half of 1% from Netherlands-Argentina (5,513,000).

The victory by Croatia, sending them into Sunday’s Final with France (11:00 AM ET, Fox), delivered the most Households of any FIFA World Cup Semifinal match since at least 1990 (4,159,000).

The complete 2018 FIFA World Cup Semifinals on Fox averaged 5,033,000 viewers over both matches, down just -6% from the 2014 Semifinals (5,334,000), and up +49% from the 2010 Semifinals (3,380,000).

Delivering 6,265,000 viewers across Fox and streaming sources, Croatia’s 2-1 win is the most-streamed FIFA World Cup Semifinal in history, garnering an average-minute audience of 830,000 for the live match. Recording 146 million streaming minutes, the Croatia-England Semifinal outperformed 2014’s match between Netherlands-Argentina (140 million minutes) by +4%.

The streaming audience also set a Fox Sports record for best-authenticated event ever, and led Fox Sports to its best single day of the tournament, with 2,000,000 unique streamers consuming the match, up +8% over the previous high (1.9 million) set on Matchday 18 of this year’s tournament.

Fox Sports delivered its best day of the tournament on social platforms, with 23 million video views (+13% vs. previous high on Matchday 21), as Twitter achieved another record day, with 16 million views across @FoxSports and @FoxSoccer handles.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup on Fox/FS1 has now produced the following U.S. television marks:

  • The highest Household Delivery for any semifinal since at least 1990
  • The most-watched Quarterfinal on record — Croatia-Russia — 6,386,000 viewers on Fox, Saturday, July 7
  • The most-watched Quarterfinals day on record – Saturday, July 7
  • The most-watched weekday non-U.S. Round of 16 match on record — Croatia vs. Denmark — 5,966,000 on Fox, Sunday, July 1
  • The most-watched non-U.S. Group Stage match on record on English language television — Germany vs. Sweden — 5,454,000 on Fox, Saturday, June 23

Fox Sports Exceeds 18 Year Quarterfinals Watermark
Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal matches averaged 5,664,000 viewers on the Fox broadcast network — making it the most-watched day of Quarterfinal action since at least 1990.

The viewership numbers are up +15% from the second day of the 2014 Quarterfinals (4,931,000), up +14% from the second day of Quarterfinals in 2010 (4,982,000), and up +26% from the second day of Quarterfinals in 2006 (4,490,000).

The Croatia-Russia thriller, which ended with Croatia defeating the host nation on penalty kicks, set the tone for the viewership milestone, averaging 6,317,000 viewers on Fox — making it the most-watched World Cup Quarterfinal match in English or Spanish since at least 1990, including U.S. matches.

The match was up +20% from the Netherlands-Costa Rica match in the corresponding 2014 window (5,260,000), up +28% from Paraguay-Spain in 2010 (4,936,000), and up +66% from Brazil-France in 2006 (3,815,000). Adding streaming sources, the match totaled 6,633,000 viewers.

Earlier Saturday, England eliminated Sweden 2-0, with the match averaging 4,763,000 viewers on the Fox broadcast network. The match was up +6% versus 2014’s corresponding Quarterfinal match, Argentina-Belgium (4,487,000). Adding streaming sources, England-Sweden delivered an audience of 5,026,000 viewers.

Twitter had its best day ever across Fox Sports accounts, with 13.7 million views, up +34% from the previous day’s record (10.3 million). The @FoxSoccer handle generated 13.1 million views, driven in large part by highlights around the Russia-Croatia match.

Telemundo Experiences Debut Coverage of the FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals
Telemundo Deportes’ exclusive Spanish-language presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup sets daytime viewership records for the network for 14 of the 20 match days of the tournament.

Friday’s quarter-final matches, featuring France-Uruguay and Brazil-Belgium, posted its best-ever Friday daytime (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET) audience in the history of the network with 1.8 million viewers — +38% up from prior record set (vs. 1.3 million viewers on June 22, 2018) after the Knockout Round coverage earlier this week delivered the best-ever Monday and Tuesday.

Telemundo Deportes’ World Cup coverage also posted the best Total Audience Delivery for a Friday in the tournament to date, averaging 2.65 million viewers (vs. 1.73 million viewers on June 22, 2018). Telemundo Deportes’ live streaming via TelemundoDeportes.com, the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, and the NBC Sports app powered by NBC Sports Group’s Playmaker Media, reached 14.1 million unique users, generating 123 million live streams and 1.84 billion live minutes viewed.

Similarly, Telemundo’s dayparts and soccer-related shoulder programming also continues to post double and triple-digit increases. This Friday’s 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET Hoy en la Copa both had their highest Friday telecasts of the tournament among Adults 18-49.

Friday’s matches ranked #1 overall regardless of language during each match window among P2+ in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Houston. Through 50 game windows, World Cup matches on Telemundo have ranked #1 among A18-49 in Spanish language 93% of the time in the Top 14 Hispanic markets with Local People Meters (650 out of 700 match windows).

Baseball on Fox Sports Cruises to First Half Success
Over the past few weeks, baseball fans have tuned in to the MLB on Fox in droves — notching a series of impressive wins for the network as it gears up for its 20th consecutive presentation of the MLB All-Star Game on Fox on Tuesday, July 17.

Baseball Night in America on Fox

  • On Saturday, June 30, MLB on FOX scored its most-watched regular season game since 2013 with 3,228,000 viewers tuning in for the Boston Red Sox – New York Yankees contest.
  • Just two weeks earlier on Saturday, June 16, the St. Louis Cardinals – Chicago Cubs matchup on FOX earned 3,068,000 viewers and ranks as the second most-watched regular season telecast since 2013.

MLB Thursdays on FS1

  • Not to be outdone, MLB on FS1 scored its most-watched regular season game of all time on Thursday, June 14, with the New York Yankees – Tampa Bay Rays drawing 980,000 viewers, up an incredible +83% over 2017’s Thursday night exclusive game average (535,000).
  • Following the Yankees – Rays game on, MLB Whiparound had its most-watched edition of all time with 308,000 viewers and is the most-watched non-event live telecast for the 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM ET timeslot this year.

On Saturday, July 7, the Los Angeles Angels – Los Angeles Dodgers matchup on Fox earned a 6.0/14 HH rating/share in Los Angeles, which is the highest-rated MLB on Fox game in the market in 14 years.

NESN Captures High Household Rating Red Sox-Blue Jays Matchup
Thursday night’s Red Sox game on NESN garnered a 9.4 household rating in the Boston DMA. Year to date (YTD), that is the highest seen this season

The total number of people (unduplicated reach) who watched Thursday night’s game in Boston was an estimated 660,000. The total number of people across all 9 New England DMAs who watched last night’s game was estimated at over 1.1 million people. These figures do not include out-of-home viewership (bars & restaurants, etc.) which Nielsen doesn’t include in overnight ratings for regional sports channels.

Another 17,000+ people also streamed the game live on NESNgo.com and the NESNgo app

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