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2022 FIFA World Cup opener sees 7 million viewers

A soccer ball inside a stadium. (Stock image, Graphic by The Desk)

Around 7 million people tuned in to watch the inaugural match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, according to figures released by Nielsen and Adobe Analytics.

On Tuesday, Comcast’s NBC Universal said around 4 million people tuned in to watch the Qatari men’s soccer team take on Ecuador on Telemundo during the first match of the tournament, which is being held in Doha over the next few weeks.

Comcast’s Telemundo holds the rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament with Spanish commentary in the United States, while Fox Sports holds the English commentary telecast rights to those same matches. Some Telemundo telecasts are being simulcast on Comcast’s streaming service Peacock, while Fox Sports is making matches available on its free, ad-supported streaming service Tubi about an hour after they air on television.

Fox Sports saw an 88 percent increase in viewership compared to the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match, with around 3.23 million people tuning in to watch the Qatar versus Ecuador match on Fox’s cable sports channel, Fox Sports 1.

Fox’s over-the-air broadcast network will offer live telecasts of matches involving the U.S. men’s soccer team during the World Cup. The Fox broadcasts are available on a number of streaming services, including Sling TV and Vidgo.