TV Watch: Spain-Portugal delivers but still below most Matchday 1 games in 2014

Fox Sports has a lot to overcome with its first men's World Cup -- no USA, early kickoff times -- but the thrilling Spain-Portugal game on Friday delivered a strong audience.

The match averaged 2,924,000 viewers on Fox. That audience was more than the other two games played on Friday combined: Iran-Morocco and Uruguay-Egypt.

Fox cited the audience for the Spain-Portugal game being up 3 percent compared with the 2014 group-stage average, excluding U.S. matches.

But 10 matches on ABC or ESPN during Matchday 1 four years ago in Brazil, where there were much more favorable kickoff times, drew higher viewerships than that of the Spain-Portugal. Five Matchday 1 games topped 4 million viewers.

Spain-Portugal was also the most-viewed English-language soccer telecast in the United States since the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France.
13 comments about "TV Watch: Spain-Portugal delivers but still below most Matchday 1 games in 2014".
  1. R2 Dad, June 17, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

    This TV viewership is not as critical as the fact that the stadia have not seen sellouts. This will worsen with the move to 48 teams in 2026. FIFA could ensure sellouts if they price the tickets in the US properly, but judging from how stadium pricing for Nats friendlies go and the USSF chase for money over attendance, will we see empty seats in 2026 like we've seen in Russia? Imagine FIFA ranked team #86 playing #78 at an enormous facilitiy like the Rosebowl and you can see this might become a real issue.

  2. Ric Fonseca replied, June 17, 2018 at 2:03 p.m.

    R2D2, Senhor, Much ado about nothing, it is a matter of marketing, and IMHO, Russia's marketing gurus were not up to the task, and I think that with the US and Mexico will have hosted - what, six games three for Mexico, and three for the US (including the women's WC games) they have quite a history on how to get the people to the games.  The infrastructure, I'd argue, is allready in place, just gotta dust it off, the technology will be up to snuff and even more advanced (golly gee, when I was with the first group of volunteers in WC USA in 1992 in the Los Angeles (Century City) headquarters, the talk of PC's and then even getting documents scanned, etc., became very important, and then going -on-line with a good old friend Che Che Vidal leading the charge, it didn't take very long then to have a PC on everyone's desk.  So the next one will be even more highly technologically advanced, as will the marketing, staffing, ticket sales, language services, faster.... and then folks will say that VAR will be then a thing of past World Cups, etc.  So bring it ON!!!

  3. charles davenport replied, June 18, 2018 at 9:58 a.m.

    Who's up for Guatemala v. Brunei?

  4. frank schoon replied, June 19, 2018 at 11:38 a.m.

    Charles , I'm getting my tickets right now!!!!!!

  5. beautiful game, June 17, 2018 at 2:03 p.m.

    2026 WC will be a watered-down version of this classic. FIFA is looking at the money, nothing else.

  6. Bob Ashpole, June 17, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.

    You missed the context of the article--Fox Sports. They don't care about attendance. They make money from the ratings. Fox bought the 2018 and 2022 English language US broadcast rights for  $400 million. In the past US matches always topped the ratings. The US failure to qualify hurts Telmundo too, but not as much.

    I should think FIFA is quite practiced at filling empty statiums after finals in South Africa, Brazil and Russia. There are always matches that don't sell out and always will be as long as FIFA maintains its stadium standards.

  7. John Soares, June 17, 2018 at 3:29 p.m.

    2026 is a long way off. If any one, country can fill stadium it will be the USA. Russia is very far for most, not exactly a friendly enviroment or vacation spot. For locals, the economy is a mess. None of these apply to USA. If I were FIFA Iwould be more worried  about... how to follow 2026 success in 2030.

  8. frank schoon, June 17, 2018 at 4:22 p.m.

    I'm sure they will able to fill all stadiums by 2026 for by then the whole world can qualify for the WC.
    As far as I'm concerned the quality of the WC has been gone down since they increased it passed 16 contestants...

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, June 18, 2018 at 10:17 p.m.

    There is truth in that. At least FIFA is not as bad as the Olympic games with short rosters for the women (only 18) and only 3 days between matches.

  10. beautiful game, June 17, 2018 at 5:48 p.m.

    Too many cameras on the pitch bouncing around and led by an IQ2 control moron who knows nothing about the visual purpose of the game. Watching 8 facials in a span of 15 seconds is Chinese torture. The ground level live actuion must stop; the viewer is denied of everything else on the pitch. Seems as if all sports viewing is centered on the head of an athlete. Even in the NFL, the camera tries to get sight of the players eyes. Eality TV has infected sports big time.

  11. Kenneth Barr, June 17, 2018 at 8:06 p.m.

    Two things about Fox; their coverage has deteriorated since the heady days of Fox Sports Plus/Fox Soccer Channel.  Second, the US failure to qualify hurst them as they haven't got the patriotism card to play.  Telemundo gets to do it with Meico and while Fox can claim to be the network that broadcasts El Tri in English, it doesn't seem to have much credibility partly due to the political situation.  As far as their coverage goes, I would dump their entire studio show except Rob Stone.  Both Warren Barton and Alexi Lalas are terrible.  Dr Joe is terribly high handed and often wrong, as are Lalas and Barton, especially when it comes to offside decisions.  I think if the ratings are analyzed closely it will be seen that quite a number of English speaking wiewers are watching Telemundo because Fox is so bad.  I happen to be one of them.

  12. Dick Burns, June 18, 2018 at 12:08 a.m.

    There were empty seats in Italy in 1990 in Verona  but not in Milan We wee in Korea in 2002 and the USA - Korea was a sell out but USA - Poland was not.  I think USA set the standard for filling stadiums both for the men in 1994 and the women in 1999.  We seem to be big event people, soccer or not.  Marketing is the answer and having the games in nice cities and stadiums sure does not hurt. Germany- Argentina in Aztaeca in 1986 wasn't too bad either.  Just hope I am still around (I will be 90) to see some of these games. Affordable tickes and lodging helps.

  13. Ric Fonseca replied, June 18, 2018 at 10:15 p.m.

    Hey Dick Burns, you will be around my amigo, so "look me up" when you come to Los Angeles, either at the Rose Bowl or the new NFL stadium (that will be home of the NFL's Rams and Chargers!) and I will be more than happy to buy you a nice tall cerveza!!!

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