World Cup Coverage Sets New Records for Telemundo and FOX Sports
This year's FIFA World Cup, which concludes this Sunday with the France versus Croatia final, was always bound to pose challenges for American audiences. With the tournament taking place in Russia, the time difference makes watching the games stateside challenging, tacked onto the fact that the U.S.A. men’s team did not qualify this year. But viewership ratings from FOX Sports and Telemundo are proving that despite these obstacles, Americans are reveling in the exciting matches, stories, and coverage that the tournament has to offer—and they are watching in a variety of ways.
Telemundo reports that through the quarterfinals, its tournament coverage has reached over 34 million viewers—more than the Spanish-language reach for the entire 2010 World Cup, which reached 32 million viewers. This year, up until the quarterfinals, 55 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population has watched Telemundo's coverage of the World Cup.
On the digital side, the network has drawn in more than 14 million unique users and generated 125 million livestreams—a new record for the biggest livestream sports event in Spanish-language history. And on linear TV, Telemundo’s coverage set a new record when it reached the most viewers ever in network history for a Friday daytime audience, with 1.8 million viewers during the France-Uruguay and Brazil-Belgium quarterfinal games. Meanwhile, the knockout round games earlier that week delivered the best-ever Monday and Tuesday audience the network ever had.
According to FOX Sports, the first 18 days of the tournament brought in 2.5 billion minutes of digital consumption, which includes streaming, short-form video and social media. Across all sports, soccer generated 55 percent of the views in the month of June alone across all streaming, social and digital platforms on the network. The Brazil-Mexico game during the knockout stage was the most-streamed match up until that point, setting a record for authenticated streaming with 1.4 million unique streamers.
The network has seen high engagement levels on its social media front. FOX Sports reported that its Snapchat account drew in 20 million unique views from an audience under the age of 25 during the group stage of the tournament. The WORLD CUP NOW show, hosted by Rachel Bonnetta and streamed live on Twitter, also garnered over two million views earlier in the tournament. On the same day as the Russia-Croatia quarterfinal, FOX Sports experienced its best day on Twitter across all of its accounts with 13.7 million views which came from the game's highlights.
The FIFA World Cup only happens every four years. As Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren told NCTA last month, "Our audience is looking for that every four-year-celebration of the World Cup, and it's a time when these communities—these entire countries—come together for 30 or so days, until the next four years comes around." Celebrating victories, discovering new players, learning about other countries, and discussing games with peers and colleagues are what make the tournament one of the most unifying sporting events in the world, and the viewership numbers are conveying how much people enjoy tuning in. With this level of engagement, even with the omission of the U.S.A. men’s team, we look forward to the FIFA Women's World Cup next summer—with the expectation that the U.S.A. team will participate—and a whole new set of records to be broken, both on the field and on the screen.