Fox Sports Finishes World Cup Coverage on High Note

The FIFA 2018 WOrld Cup final between France (in blue) and Croatia

The FIFA 2018 WOrld Cup final between France (in blue) and Croatia

Fox Sports’ maiden run on the World Cup coverage field didn’t match up ratings-wise to the prior World Cup tournament, but it still drew decent audiences for Fox and FS1 over its month-long run.

Fox Sports’ coverage of Sunday’s France-Croatia World Cup final averaged 11.3 million viewers across Fox broadcasting and streaming services, and 11.8 million with digital viewing added -- the most watched game of the tournament. 

Unfortunately for Fox, the numbers were well below the 17.3 million numbers ABC generated from the 2014 Germany-Argentina World Cup final, according to Nielsen.

The good news for Fox is that France’s 4-2 win over Croatia was the most watched, non-NFL telecast on the network so far this year.

Overall, Fox Sports’ coverage of the World Cup drew an average of 2.7 million viewers, down 20 percent from ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Brazil but up 9% from the 2010 World Cup from South Africa (all excluding Team USA matches), according to Fox. 

Fox executives acknowledged early that they had tempered ratings expectations, given the absence of the US Team in the tournament as well as the time difference between Russia and the US. Yet several games – particularly during the knockout rounds – delivered strong ratings for Fox Sports.

RELATED: Fox Sports Hoping For World Cup Ratings Rebound 

Fox Sports also reported that Fox broadcasting and FS1’s coverage – which aired primarily in the morning and early afternoon time slots in the U.S. -- accounted for all 20 of the top-20 shows among Men 18-49 in English-language TV over the last month, and delivered the 15 most-watched soccer matches since the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, according to the network. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.