Not surprisingly, viewership for the 2018 World Cup on the Fox Sports and Telemundo networks is down. Bloomberg reported
that it was down about 44
percent compared to the 2014 World Cup, according to Nielsen.
Average audiences are down on both English-language (Fox and FS1) and Spanish-language (Telemundo) through the first set of
matches: 2018 Fox/FS1:
1.98 million 2014 ABC/ESPN/ESPN2:
----------------------------------------------- 2018 Telemundo:
million 2014 Univision:
The USA's failure to qualify is a big factor in Fox's drop in comparison to the viewerships on the Disney networks four years ago.
The USA-Ghana match in 2014 averaged 11.1 million viewers on ESPN. The most-watched match so far on Fox was 4 million for Brazil-Switzerland.
A bigger factor: early kickoff times.
On most days during the group stage, action kicks off at 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). In Brazil, matches often finished in prime time on the East Coast.
The 2018 World Cup is also fighting the
trend of changing viewer habits as younger viewers are abandoning traditional television.
“It’s a combination of all these things that leads you to this drop,” sports
media consultant Chris Bevilacqua
told Bloomberg. “These numbers aren’t necessarily a shock. This is probably along the lines of what the networks thought was going to happen once
the U.S. failed to qualify.”