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US English WCup viewers drop 35 percent through quarters

July 10, 2018

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford gestures during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MOSCOW (AP) — World Cup English-language ratings in the United States remained down from 2014 through the quarterfinals, but improved from earlier in the tournament.

The four games in Russia last weekend averaged 4,892,000 viewers on Fox and FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was down 12 percent from an average of 5,582,000 for the 2014 quarterfinals in Brazil on ABC and ESPN and up 13 percent from the 4,337,000 average in South Africa on ABC and ESPN in 2010.

Coverage of this year’s tournament on Fox and FS1 has averaged 2,716,000 viewers for 60 games through the quarterfinals. That is down 35 percent from the 2014 average of 4,193,000 on ESPN, ABC and ESPN2 and down 8 percent from the 2010 average of 2,947,000 on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.

Excluding U.S. games in the group stage and round of 16 in prior years, this year’s average is down 21 percent from 2014′s 3,423,000 and up 12 percent from 2010′s 2,375,000.

For Friday’s coverage on FS1, France’s 2-0 win over Uruguay starting at 10 a.m. EDT averaged 2,834,000 viewers and Belgium’s 2-1 victory over Brazil beginning at 2 p.m. averaged 3.85 million. For Saturday’s coverage on Fox, England’s 2-0 victory over Sweden averaged 5.25 million in the early game and Croatia’s penalty kicks win over Russia averaged 6,697,000 in the late match.

Ratings were expected to drop from four years ago because of earlier kickoff times and the United States missing the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Figures include only television viewers and not those watching digital steams.

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