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Fox Sports breaks viewership record for soccer match

The U.S.-Wales Men’s World Cup Match and Opening Ceremony in Doha, Qatar, on November 21, 2022.
The U.S.-Wales Men’s World Cup Match and Opening Ceremony in Doha, Qatar, on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Ronny Przysucha, U.S. State Department; Graphic by The Desk)

The World Cup match between the United States and England broke a viewership record for Fox Sports, the company said this weekend.

More than 15.7 million people tuned in to watch the two teams play 90 minutes in a match that saw no goals and ended with a zero tie. The match peaked during a 15-minute window that started at 3:30 p.m., with more than 19.64 million people watching Fox during that time.

The data was based on analytics collected and reported by Nielsen Research and Adobe Analytics, as passed along by Fox Sports’ public relations department.

The match broke a viewership record for the most-watched men’s soccer event on U.S. television, beating the 1994 World Cup match between Brazil and Italy that aired on ABC. It was also significantly higher than the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament, which saw around 3.23 million people tune in to Fox to watch Ecuador take on Qatar.

Fox Sports holds the domestic television rights to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament with English commentary. Comcast’s NBC Sports holds the Spanish-language telecast rights, with broadcasts airing on local Telemundo stations and the cable channel NBC Universo.

In a statement on Sunday, NBC Sports said Saturday evening’s matchup between Mexico and Argentina broke broadcast and streaming viewership records for a Spanish-language telecast of a World Cup match, with more than 8.9 million viewers tuning in to watch the match on Telemundo and streaming the event on Peacock. The game saw an audience increase of nearly 100 percent compared to Mexico’s first match against Poland, which was played Tuesday and brought in 4.6 million viewers.

Fox and Telemundo are set to air the U.S. men’s soccer match against Iran on Tuesday. The U.S. team must win the match in order to advance in the tournament.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).