England’s win over Tunisia in the 2018 World Cup proved popular with British TV audiences as a peak of over 18M viewers tuned in to see Harry Kane score a last-minute header against the African team. However on the other side of the pond things were much more subdued from the Three Lions first game of the 2014 global tournament.
Airing at 11 AM PT yesterday on Fox Sports 1, the match was very different than England’s first game of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. For one thing, England won 2-1 unlike four years ago on June 14, 2014 when the side went down 2-1 to the power of Italy, who aren’t in the World Cup this time round.
The other big difference was the ratings.
Played on a Monday this year as opposed to a Saturday back in 2014, yesterday’s match garnered a 1.78 in metered market ratings for the Rupert Murdoch owned sports cabler. That’s a hard ratings fall of 32% from the loss to Italy in 2014. Overall, England’s losing 2014 opener eventually drew a total American audience of 4.61 million for the ESPN broadcast game.
Interestingly enough, as we await the viewership for yesterday’s game, the highest rated local market for the England vs. Tunisia match was Florida’s West Palm Beach. The upscale town snared a 2.77 MM rating ahead of second place Richmond, Virginia’s 2.68 result.
On the flip side, FS1 might have take a hit on the England match but overall the outlet had a very good week with the World Cup and more. Pulling 30.04 million sets of eyeballs tuning in for at least six-minutes of programming, Fox Sports 1 topped the sports channel standings for the first time ever in total audience. Usual top dog, ESPN was number #2 with just over 28 million viewers for the week of June 11 – June 17, 2018.
Over in the UK, the game, which was broadcast on BBC One, averaged 13.73M across the whole game, peaking with 18.3M and a 68.8% share in the final few moments as the Tottenham Hotspur striker defied England’s normal routine of drawing or losing their opening match of a major tournament.
This is compared to an average of 11.5M that tuned in to England’s defeat to Italy in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup, although that game kicked off a little later in the evening. That match, which saw Italy beat England 2-1, peaked with 15.6M viewers. However, neither game could match the peak of England’s opening game of the 2010 World Cup, which peaked with just over 20M viewers.
The BBC also revealed that 3M streamed the match live on video-on-demand platform iPlayer, making it the most streamed live show ever for the British public broadcaster.
England play Panama on Sunday afternoon, followed by Belgium next Thursday.