Fox Sports’ weekend coverage of the U.S. Open golf championship and the FIFA Women’s World Cup capped an impressive five-day run of strong viewership performances for marquee sports telecasts.
Fox broadcasting continued to set soccer telecast milestones with its Sunday afternoon coverage of the US women’s soccer team’s 3-0 win over Chile. The network drew 5.3 million viewers for the game, making it the most-watched English-language soccer telecast in the country since the 2018 FIFA Men's World Cup final in Russia, according to Nielsen.
The telecast was also most-watched, FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage match ever in the U.S., according to Fox Sports.
Later that evening, the network moved to the greens for its final round coverage of the US Open golf championship. The network’s primetime coverage of the championship from Pebble Beach, California -- in which Gary Woodland (pictured) took home the prized trophy -- delivered 7.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Overall, 31.7 million viewers watched all or part of the tournament, making it Fox Sports’ most watched U.S. Open ever.
Fox Sports kicked off its U.S. Open coverage this past Thursday (June 13) with FS1 focusing cameras on the play from two groups of golfers -- including Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka -- while Fox Sports handled main coverage duties for the championship. The telecasts drew a combined 3.4 million viewers -- the best first round coverage on a broadcast network since 2002, according to Fox Sports.
Also on June 13, ABC concluded its coverage of the Golden State Warriors-Toronto Raptors NBA Finals by drawing more than 18 million viewers to the sixth and final game of the series, won by the Raptors. While ABC’s ratings were hampered by having the Canadian-based Raptors -- the Toronto market is not rated by Nielsen -- in the finals, the network’s game telecasts on the nights aired were the most-watched shows on television, according to Nielsen.
The NBA Finals ended a day after the NHL Stanley Cup finals finished a thrilling Game 7 between the now champion St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins by averaging 8.7 million viewers on NBC -- the most watched Nielsen-rated NHL telecast, which dates back to 1994, according to Nielsen.
The high cost of sports programming and the value proposition of sports networks will always be a subject for debate within the industry, but what is indisputable is the ability of marquee sports events to still draw big audiences and, more often than not, score more viewers up against any other content on traditional television.
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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.