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US English World Cup viewers drop 38 percent through last 16

July 6, 2018

Uruguay's Luis Suarez points during the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. English-language television viewers for the World Cup’s round of 16 in Russia were down 27 percent from four years ago, leaving the tournament 38 percent below 2014′s level.

The eight second-round matches on Fox and FS averaged 4,858,000 viewers, down from 6,696,000 four years ago on ESPN and ABC, according to Nielsen Media Research. Viewers for the round of 16 were down 4 percent from the 5,042,000 average for the 2010 tournament in South Africa, which had more comparable kickoff times to this year.

The first 56 matches of this year’s tournament averaged 2,541,000 on Fox and FS1, down from the 4,083,000 average through the round of 16 in 2014 on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, and down 10 percent from the 2,836,000 average in 2010.

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.

The U.S.’s second-round loss to Belgium in 2014 was viewed by 16,491,000 and its round-of-16 defeat to Ghana in 2010 was seen by 15,193,000. Excluding the U.S. matches, the second-round average this year was down 7 percent from 2014’s 5,208,000 and up 55 percent from 2010′s 3,133,000. Not including the U.S., the tournament average is down 22 percent from 2014′s 3,238,000 and up 15 percent from 2010′s 2,205,000.

Uruguay’s 2-1 win over Portugal was the most-viewed round-of-16 match at an average of 6,268,000, followed by Croatia’s penalty-kick victory over Denmark (6,181,000), Russia’s penalty-kick win over Spain (5,515,000), France’s 4-2 victory over Argentina (5,143,000), England’s penalty-kick win over Colombia (4,668,000), Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Mexico (4,558,000), Belgium’s 3-2 win over Japan (3,773,000) and Sweden’s 1-0 victory over Switzerland (1,905,000).

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

Telemundo’s Spanish-language round of 16 coverage averaged 3.3 million viewers, including digital streaming, down 19 percent from the 4.1 million TV viewers four years ago on Univision. The first 56 matches on Telemundo and Universo, both part of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal Inc., averaged 2.2 million viewers, including digital streaming, down 26 percent from the 2.9 million average on Univision and Unimas four years ago and up 5 percent from the 2.1 million average for Univision’s networks in 2010.

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