Ratings Roundup: 2022 FIFA World Cup Final With Over 16.7 Million Viewers; Most Watched Mens World Cup in English-Language TV History
Ratings Roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Fox Sport’s coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final became one of the most watched mens World Cup games in history, ESPN’s 2022 college football playoff semifinals became one of the most watched non-New Years Day semifinals, and more.
2022 FIFA World Cup Final on FOX Scores Most-Watched Men’s Telecast in English-Language History With 16,783,000 Viewers
FOX Sports’ celebrated coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament culminated Sunday with a storybook Final match ending that saw 16,783,000 viewers tune in across FOX and FOX Sports streaming services, delivering record-setting viewership according to Nielsen Media Research Program Ratings.
The crown jewel of the network’s unrivaled portfolio of international soccer tournaments made history as Lionel Messi and Argentina’s historic victory over Kylian Mbappé and France in penalties finished as the most-watched men’s World Cup telecast in English-language U.S. television history, as well as the most-watched men’s FIFA World Cup Final in the U.S. topping Italy vs. Brazil in 1994 (14,510,000).
2o22 FIFA WORLD CUP FINAL ON FOX AND FOX SPORTS STREAMING SERVICES
- Up +47% vs. Russia 2018 Final (France vs. Croatia, Sunday morning, 11,441,000 viewers); up +19% vs. Brazil 2014 Final (Germany vs. Argentina, Sunday afternoon, 14,107,000 viewers); up +28% vs. South Africa 2010 Final (Netherlands vs. Spain, Sunday afternoon, 13,087,000 viewers)
- Match peaked at 25,622,000 viewers (12:45 – 1:00 PM ET)
- Top-rated available local markets: Washington, D.C. (12.1/36), New York (11.4/32), Boston (10.7/35), San Francisco (10.5/42), Austin (10.0/33)
- Most-streamed World Cup match in FOX Sports history with average minute audience (AMA) of 1,281,776, up +158% vs. Russia 2018 Final (AMA: 496,081)
- Third most-streamed event in FOX Sports history, after Super Bowl LI and Super Bowl LIV, respectively
- The historic finish on penalties powered a surge in FOX NFL Week 15 lead-in viewership. The FOX NFL single header window on Sunday scored 18,658,000 viewers (+41% over last season’s comparable window)
2o22 FIFA WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT HIGHLIGHTS
- Averaged 3,588,000 viewers across 64 matches on FOX and FS1, up +30% vs. Russia 2018 (2,770,000)
- The tournament amassed 2.75 billion streaming minutes across FOX Sports digital streaming
- Most-streamed World Cup tournament in FOX Sports history with AMA of 287,064 up +19% vs. Russia 2018 (AMA: 242,162)
- The third-place match on Saturday, Dec. 17 between Croatia and Morocco scored 3,956,000 viewers on FOX and FOX Sports streaming services, up +30% from the Russia 2018 third-place match on FOX (Belgium vs. England, Saturday morning, 3,052,000 viewers)
FOX SPORTS DIGITAL
Fueled by the Final match, FOX Sports digital scored its biggest day ever on Sunday, Dec. 18, achieving record-highs for unique visitors, live streamers, page views, short-form VOD views, and story reads across digital platforms, including the FOX Sports App and FOXSports.com.
Over the span of the tournament, FOX Sports produced over 130 live-streaming shows, pushed out over 15,000 social media posts and authored more than 700 stories around 2022 FIFA World Cup representing the team’s most ambitious and successful project to date.
@FOXSOCCER ON SOCIAL MEDIA
FOX Sports’ wall-to-wall World Cup coverage across @FOXSoccer social channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok drove over 1.2 billion views, up +172% vs. 2018. Powered by World Cup content, @FOXSoccer channels closed November 2022 with the most-viewed month ever for a FOX Sports social vertical with 531 million views, according to Adobe Analytics.
FOX Sports made a splash on Twitter with its dynamically integrated WORLD CUP NOW pre- and post-game show, which generated over 88.4 million views exclusively on the platform to become FOX Sports’ most-viewed digital content series ever, shattering previous 2018 benchmarks according to Twitter Analytics.
WORLD CUP NOW averaged 685,000 viewers over 129 live shows, with pre- and post-game shows for the World Cup Final generating more than 5.8 million views alone. WORLD CUP NOW produced an average audience of 982,800 viewers for shows around U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) matches.
FOX SPORTS APP & FOXSPORTS.COM
FOX Sports reached 61.7 million unique visitors with World Cup content across the FOX Sports App and FOXSports.com, up +74% vs. Russia 2018, with FOXSports.com scoring 49.3 million unique visitors for tournament coverage, up +74% vs. Russia 2018 (28.3 million).
In November 2022, FOX Sports delivered its most-viewed month ever on its digital platforms fueled by its World Cup coverage with 1.4 billion views across the FOX Sports App and FOX Sports.com, up +59% vs. November 2021.
The FOX Sports App saw 9.1 million total new App installs across mobile (6.6M) and living room (2.5M), up +21% from Russia 2018 total installs. The FOX Sports App also scored its most-downloaded month ever in November 2022 with over 12.5 million downloads overall, with 2.6 million users opting to ‘follow’ the FIFA World Cup to receive personalized daily updates through mobile alerts.
Instant Classic 2022 FIFA World Cup Final Reaches More Than 10 Million Canadian Viewers on TSN, CTV, RDS and Noovo
As Lionel Messi and Argentina lifted the FIFA World Cup Trophy after one of the greatest matches the beautiful game has ever seen, Sunday’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Final attracted an average audience of 4.8 million viewers on TSN, CTV, RDS, and Noovo, according to preliminary overnight data from Numeris. The match becomes the second-most-watched broadcast event of the year, behind only SUPER BOWL LVI.
Audiences for the instant-classic Final marked an increase of +23% compared to the 2018 Final, and the match broke streaming records, becoming the most-watched live streaming event in TSN and RDS history.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Final reached more than 10 million unique Canadian viewers, with audiences peaking at 7.7 million viewers at 12:54 p.m. ET as Argentina secured the title in a dramatic penalty shootout. The Final also led to TSN and CTV ranking as the first and second-most-watched networks of the day on Sunday, respectively.
2022 FIFA World Cup tournament overall attracted major audiences on TSN, CTV, and RDS throughout the month, as 24 million Canadians – 62% of the country’s population – tuned in to watch some part of the iconic tournament.
Additionally, the tournament represented the most successful sustained period of digital content consumption over 28 days in TSN history, garnering more than 32.5 million video starts and 215 million page views throughout the tournament.
On social media, TSN’s official accounts attracted significant engagement around the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with 137 million video views and more than 550 million impressions across platforms. The TSN video highlight reel of the Final was Canada’s #1 trending video on YouTube on Sunday.
France Semifinal Win Sets New Mark for FIFA World Cup on FOX
France vs. Morocco scored 6,592,000 viewers on FOX and FOX Sports streaming services Wednesday afternoon, making it the most-watched men’s World Cup semifinal telecast on English-language television, up +17% from the equivalent 2018 semifinal match from Russia (England vs Croatia, 5,617,000).
The 2-0 France victory was up +20% from the equivalent 2014 semifinal from Brazil (Netherlands vs. Argentina 5,513,000) and up +92% from the equivalent 2010 semifinal match from South Africa (Spain vs. Germany 3,425,000).
The match peaked at 8,593,000 viewers (3:30 – 3:45 PM ET).
Top 5 available markets: New York (4.8/19), San Francisco (4.5/26), D.C. (4.3/19), Providence (3.9/15), Dallas (3.7/18).
2022 College Football Playoff Semifinals on ESPN Score Most-Watched Non-New Year’s Day Semifinals of CFP Era with 22.1 Million Viewers
The 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinals delivered a bevy of record-breaking viewership and history-making moments, securing the most-watched non-New Year’s Day Semifinals on record now with final Nielsen viewership figures. Across both of ESPN’s MegaCast presentations, the two games averaged 22.1 million viewers and 7.6 million P18-49 viewers on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The audience is the best in the past five years and becomes the third-most watched Semifinals in the CFP era.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and Vrbo Fiesta Bowl are the two most-viewed individual Semifinals since the 2017-18 season and now rank as the fourth and fifth best, respectively. Both games are among the top five non-NFL telecasts on broadcast or cable since the start of 2022, and reached more than 42 million total viewers between them, 11 percent year-over-year growth. The audience finished up 30 percent among P2+ viewers and 29 percent among P18-49 viewers over 2021. The pair of Semifinal games attracted a 34.4 P2+ and 46.8 P18-49 share across the two games, the highest for both demos in the CFP era.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl secured 22.4 million viewers, the most-watched primetime CFP Semifinal since Year 1 and a top 20 cable telecast of all time. It’s the best non-NFL telecast across broadcast or cable since last year’s CFP National Championship, and peaked just before halftime (9:45-10 p.m. ET) with 24.3 million viewers. It notched 7.9 million P18-49 viewers as Georgia clinched its spot in the program’s second consecutive national title game.
The Vrbo Fiesta Bowl scored 21.7 million viewers to become the third-most watched afternoon CFP Semifinal of the CFP era. The Michigan-TCU matchup peaked with 26.9 million viewers as TCU upset Michigan in the game’s closing minutes. The Big Ten-Big 12 battle brought in 7.3 million P18-49 viewers, and half of all P18-49 viewers watching television during this game were tuned into the action. With a 36.1 P2+ share and 50.3 P18-49 share, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl registered the highest share of any CFP Semifinal or Championship on record.
Additional New Year’s Six Superlatives:
- The 2022-23 New Year’s Six averaged nearly 13 million viewers across all six games, up year-over-year and the most-watched New Year’s Six in three years.
- The Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Kansas State drew 9.1 million viewers and 3.0 million P18-49 viewers, the best audience for a noon game leading into the CFP Semifinals on record.
- Friday’s Orange Bowl between Tennessee and Clemson averaged 8.7 million viewers and 2.6 million P18-49 viewers on ESPN and ESPNU, the most-watched non-Semifinal Orange Bowl since 2017 (Wisconsin/Miami) and the best standalone weekday New Year’s Six in primetime since 2017 (Cotton Bowl – USC/Ohio State). The audience for the window was up 14 percent year-over-year.
Additional Holiday Week Highlights:
- TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Notre Dame/South Carolina): 5.8M viewers (best since Jan. 2016)
- Most-watched non-NY6 bowl game on ESPN since 2015-16 season (Jan. 2016)
- Cheez-It Bowl (Oklahoma/Florida State): 5.4M viewers (best since Dec. 2013)
- Valero Alamo Bowl (Texas/Washington): 4.8M viewers (best since Dec. 2019)
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Kansas/Arkansas): 3.9M viewers (second-best since Jan. 2016)
- Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl (Wake Forest/Missouri): 3.5M viewers (best since Dec. 2008)
Amazon Prime Video averaged 9.6 million viewers for its first season as exclusive rights holder to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package
Throughout the 2022 season, fans watching Thursday Night Football on Prime Video held a median age of 47 years old, which is seven years younger than the average median age of viewers watching the NFL on linear TV
TNF on Prime finished the season with the lowest median age for a full season slate of games since 2013, and registered the largest median age gap on record between a stand-alone NFL package and the rest of the NFL packages
According to Nielsen, TNF on Prime’s average viewership among P18-34 was 2.11M, up +11% compared to 2021 on FOX, NFLN + PV (1.90M)
Throughout the 2022 season, 22% of TNF on Prime’s viewers were in the P18-34 demographic, compared to 14% of viewers watching the NFL on linear networks. Throughout the Fall season, only 7% of viewers watching prime time on linear are in the P18-34 demographic
Among Men 18-34, the 2022 season finished up + 18% vs. 2021, registering the largest year-over-year jump in that demo for TNF and any NFL package since 2014
TNF on Prime viewers devoted 85 Average Minutes Watched per game this season, which is nine minutes longer when compared to viewers of linear NFL telecasts (1-minute qualifier, P2+)
According to Nielsen, throughout the 2022 season, TNF on Prime viewers earned a Median Household Income of $98,500, which is 19% higher than audiences watching the NFL on linear networks ($82,800)
According to Amazon’s first-party viewership measurement, TNF on Prime Video averaged 11.3 million viewers (AMA) during the 2022 season
According to Nielsen Media Research figures alone, TNF on Prime averaged 9.58 million viewers per game (including OTA and OOH) during the 2022 season
TNF on Prime’s average audience crossed the 10-million mark six times during the 2022 season, ranking TNF games high among the most-watched events in all of television
TNF on Prime was the most watched program on Thursday nights 13 of 15 times this season, outperforming all head-to-head broadcast and cable programming among total viewers P2+
Among both the P18-34 and P18-49 demos, TNF on Prime won the night all 15 times across broadcast and cable programming throughout the 2022 season
Prime Video’s 49ers-Seahawks NFC West Clincher Claims Most-Watched Program for the Week of Dec. 12
With just two weeks to go in Prime Video’s inaugural season as the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football, the 49ers-Seahawks tilt secured the NFC West for San Francisco and kicked off a closing string of TNF games between postseason hopefuls that will significantly shape the NFL playoff picture.
TNF on Prime has outperformed all linear programming across broadcast and cable for the week beginning December 12. Below find viewership highlights from the presentation that featured a primary broadcast from Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, as well as three alternate streams (Prime Vision with Next Gen Stats, TNF en Español and TNF with Storm & Kremer).
- According to Amazon’s first-party measurement and Nielsen Media research, Thursday Night Football on Prime Video averaged 11.6 million viewers (AMA) during last night’s game
- Through 13 games, Thursday Night Football is averaging 11.4M according to Amazon’s first-party measurement
- Based on Nielsen Media Research alone, Thursday’s TNF on Prime game attracted an average audience of 10.31M (including OTA and OOH), ranking as the 5th most-watched game on Prime Video this season and the most-watched program of the week beginning December 12
- Through 13 games, TNF on Prime is averaging 9.67M, according to Nielsen
- For the sixth time this season, TNF on Prime eclipsed an average audience of 10M
- Dec 15 49ers-Seahawks game had a peak audience of 11.63M, marking the eighth game this season that TNF on Prime’s peak has exceeded 11M
- Within the coveted P18-34 demographic, Thursday’s game also won the week beginning December 12, as TNF on Prime attracted 2.01M in the demo, up +58% compared to the No. 2 program
- This marks the eighth time this season that TNF on Prime has eclipsed more than 2M in this demographic
- According to Nielsen, TNF on Prime is averaging 2.16M viewers in the P18-34 demographic
- TNF on Prime continues to hold the highest percentage of P18-34 viewers (22%) and P18-49 viewers (50%) across all NFL windows on linear TV
- Season-to-date, TNF on Prime’s viewership has a median age of 47 years old, 8 years younger than the NFL average on linear TV
Prime Video’s Watery Jaguars vs. Jets TNF Game Draws 9.4M Viewers; Bests All Linear Programming
Dec. 22 Thursday Night Football game on Prime Video featured a 19-3 Jacksonville Jaguars victory over the New York Jets amid wet, wintry conditions in North Jersey. Below find viewership highlights surrounding the contest that topped all linear programming across broadcast and cable television.
- According to Amazon’s first-party viewership measurement and Nielsen Media research, Thursday Night Football on Prime Video averaged 9.4 million viewers (AMA) during last night’s game
- Through 14 games, Thursday Night Football is averaging 11.3M, according to Amazon’s first-party measurement
- Based on Nielsen Media Research alone, Thursday’s TNF on Prime game earned an average audience of 8.3M (including OTA and OOH)
- Through 14 games, TNF on Prime is averaging 9.57M, according to Nielsen
- The peak audience was 9.21M, which took place during the game’s 2nd Quarter
- Within the sought-after P18-34 demographic, Thursday’s game attracted 1.60M in the demo, up +616% compared to the No. 2 program (La Madrastra on Univision – 224K)
- The game posted an increase of +28% in the P18-34 demo vs. the comparable TNF game last year (49ers vs. Titans, 1.25M on NFLN)
- Through 14 games, TNF on Prime is averaging 2.12M in the P18-34 demo, up +12% vs. last year’s coverage on FOX, NFL Network and Prime Video
- Within the P18-49 demographic, last night’s game attracted an audience of 3.68M, up +16% compared vs. last year’s comparable TNF game (3.17M)
- Through 14 games, TNF on Prime is averaging 4.73M in the P18-49 demo
- Season-to-date, TNF on Prime’s viewership has a median age of 47 years old, 8 years younger than the NFL average on linear TV
ESPN’s Monday Night Football Delivers 16.1 Million Viewers; Matches MNF’s Best Week 15 Audience Since 2011
ESPN’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers (December 19, 8:15 p.m. ET) registered 16.1 million viewers (ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes) to close out NFL Week 15. The 16+ million viewers matches MNF’s best Week 15 audience since 2011 and is MNF’s third-best Week 15 audience in ESPN’s 17 years of Monday Night Football (2006 – present). Last season’s MNF game (Minnesota at Chicago) also registered 16.1 million viewers.
Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli averaged 1.3 million viewers for Rams-Packers on ESPN2, accounting for another spot on ESPN’s most-watched alternate telecasts list. MNF with Peyton and Eli has now earned the 18 most-watched ESPN alternate telecasts on record (over 100 episodes), which includes all nine episodes from this season and nine episodes from its debut season (2021). Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will return for 20th edition for the Super Wild Card Game (Monday, Jan. 16).
Monday Night Football Continues with AFC Playoff Impact Matchups in Weeks 16 and 17 Monday Night Football will feature a pivotal game for the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16, as the Chargers, currently the sixth seed in the AFC Playoffs, travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (December 26, 8 p.m.). In Week 17, MNF features Buffalo at Cincinnati (January 2, 8:30 p.m.) in a key AFC Playoff impact matchup. Currently, the Bills and Bengals are seeded first and third, respectively. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Lisa Salters will be on the call for both games.
FOX NFL Holiday Weekend Gifts Nearly 70 Million Impressions
Christmas Eve National Window: 27.8M Viewers
- Ranks as the most-watched telecast of the week
- Up +15% over last year’s comparable window (24,162,000)
- Season-to-date, AGOTW is averaging 24,531,000 viewers, up +5% over last year (23,287,000) and the window’s best performance since 2019 (24,763,000)
Christmas Day: 25.9M Viewers
- Ranks as the most-watched telecast of the day on any network
- Marks the third consecutive year in which the NFL on FOX was the most-watched telecast on Christmas Day
FOX NFL’s Best Since 2015
- Through Week 16, the NFL on FOX is averaging 19,639,000 viewers, up +6% over last year (18,610,000) and ranks as FOX’s best season-to-date performance since 2015
Swish! Viewership for ESPN and ABC’s NBA Christmas Games Up Five Percent From 2021
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks Game Draws Highest Viewership in the Noon ET Window in 11 Years
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Game Delivers Largest Average NBA Audience of the Day with 6,033,000 Viewers, Up 16 Percent Vs. Last Year
- Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets Broadcast is Most-Watched Christmas Late Game in Seven Years
- NBA Christmas on ESPN and ABC Up in Key Demos from 2021
- Viewership for ESPN and ABC’s NBA Christmas games was up five percent from 2021, according to Nielsen. The five-game holiday slate averaged 4,271,000 viewers, compared to 4,082,000 viewers from last year. All five games aired on both ESPN and ABC.
The Philadelphia 76ers victory over the New York Knicks averaged 4,036,000 viewers, up 38 percent from the noon ET window last season (Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks). It is the most-watched NBA Christmas game in the noon window in 11 years, since the 2011. Christmas opened the 2011-12 NBA season. The Sixers vs. Knicks game also aired on ESPN2 via the NBA in Stephen A’s World alternate presentation.
The Boston Celtics victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a matchup of Eastern Conference favorites drew the largest average NBA audience of the day with 6,033,000 viewers. It peaked with 6,828,000 viewers from 7:30-7:45 p.m. Viewership was up 16 percent from last season’s 5 p.m. window when the Golden State Warriors squared off with the Phoenix Suns.
ESPN and ABC’s NBA Christmas coverage was bookended with multi-year viewership highs. The Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets game at 10:30 p.m. averaged 2,485,000 viewers and became the most-watched Christmas late game in seven years, since 2015.
The NBA on ESPN and ABC also generated three percent year over year viewership increases in key demos, including P18-49 and P25-54.
The 2:30 p.m. matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks averaged 4,333,000 viewers, while the 8 p.m. game between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies generated 4,700,000 viewers.
DePaul-Creighton is FOX’s Most-Watched College Hoops Game Ever
Creighton’s Christmas Day victory over DePaul scored 2.99 million viewers on FOX – the network’s most-watched college hoops game ever.
DePaul-Creighton is the most-watched college basketball game on any network this season.