FIFA claims record-breaking audiences for 2022 World Cup group stage

Courtesy FIFA

Football’s global governing body FIFA says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is delivering record-breaking TV audience numbers across multiple markets around the world.

In Japan, the group game between Japan and Costa Rica on Sunday 27 November drew an average audience of 36.37 million viewers. This surpassed the audience of their comeback against Germany in their tournament opener by over 10m and was 74% higher than the average domestic group stage audience during the 2018 event.

On Thursday 24 November in Korea Republic, 11.14 million people watched their tournament opener against Uruguay. The broadcast saw a 97% increase in audience compared to group stage matches at Brazil 2014; and 18% higher Russia 2018.

Fans in Europe also tuned in for the second round of group stage matches in great numbers. On Sunday 28 November, 65% of people watching TV in Spain saw La Roja take on Germany in one of the most anticipated games of the tournament so far. 11.9 million was the combined audience across coverage on La1 and GOL MUNDIAL, exceeding the audience of any group stage game for the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

Elsewhere, over three quarters (76.6%) of all people watching TV in the Netherlands witnessed Cody Gakpo’s wonder strike in their 1-1 draw with Ecuador. This was the highest TV audience in the country in 2022 and greater than any match during the FIFA World Cup in 2018. In France, Les Bleus’ encounter with Denmark, was broadcast on TF1. Averaging an audience of 11.6 million viewers, the programme audience peaked in the closing minutes of the match as 14.56 million watched Kylian Mbappe score a late winner. This was the highest peak of the tournament in France so far, beating 14 million viewers during France’s opening match against Australia.

It was a similar story in Portugal, where the match with Uruguay on Monday 28 November was the highest TV audience in Portugal for a FIFA World Cup match ever. In total, 5.35 million viewers in Portugal watched at least one minute of coverage as the team progressed to the knockout stages. Over 80% of the Portuguese TV landscape has now watched at least one minute of the tournament’s coverage.

Interest in the United States also continues to grow with new records continuously being broken. The English-language coverage of USA’s encounter with England on Friday 25 November was the most watched men’s football match on US television ever, with a peak audience of 19.65 million viewers on FOX. NBC-Universal’s Spanish-language coverage of the match on Telemundo was the second-most watched FIFA World Cup group stage match featuring a US team in Spanish-language history.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, coverage of the match with Argentina delivered a national audience of 20.96 million viewers. The combined share across three channels broadcasting the game was 67.9%. This was higher than the top combined rating in the territory for any match of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. In Argentina, the average audience for this match was 8.48 million; an audience share of 81.3%.

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