(UPDATED WITH VIEWERSHIP NUMBERS) On a scorching Saturday that saw England advance further in the World Cup than the home of the beautiful game has since 1990 and Croatia take down a dynamo, Russia was on seemingly everyone’s lips and the object of their eyes yesterday – and we don’t mean Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Donald Trump and the adjoining array of Congressional committees.
Going all the way to an obviously dramatic 3-4 penalty shootout with the 2018 tournament hosts, Ivan Rakitic, Domagoj Vida and the rest of the Croatian national team put the brakes on Vladimir Putin and Russia’s eventual aim of a World Cup final perch. They also helped Fox hit new ratings and viewership highs for its coverage of this year’s World Cup.
Actually, breaking the 2018 record established by Croatia’s July 1 victory in penalties over Denmark, the Russian loss to the Luka Modric lead team scored a whooping 5.0/13 in metered market ratings. Not only is that now the best result of the 2018 World Cup for the Rupert Murdoch owned outlet in the early metrics but it is also the best any Men’s match has done on any American network since the 2014 FIFA tournament’s Germany winning final.
That ABC broadcast game of Die Mannschaft’s overtime 1-0 won over Argentina on July 13, 2014 nailed a 9.7 rating in the metered markets. It went on to have a very impressive viewership of 17.324 million on that Sunday summer afternoon.
While yesterday’s Croatia win was up at that level of viewership, it was the most watched game of the 2018 World Cup so far. With 6.32 million tuning in for the second quarterfinal match on Fox of the extended July 4 holiday, Saturday’s Croatia v. Russia broke another record too, across the decades. That viewership number is the most for any quarterfinal game, in English or Spanish, since 1990. And, by the way, that includes 2002 when Team USA made it to the quarterfinals.
On both the small screen and the likely smaller screens of streaming, the penalty shootout defined Croatia v. Russia game drew an average of 6.63 million. Up a very solid 20% on Fox alone over what the corresponding 2014 quarterfinal delivered on ESPN that year, the match peaked on the network with just over 8 million viewers in the penalty phase at 1:40 – 1:45 PM PT.
Adding a little more to the stats trivia package, the Croatian win yesterday was the highest MM result for any event on Fox or Fox Sports since the 5.1 that the Daytona 500 raced to on February 18. Coming off a 2018 World Cup that is absent any Team USA and hence down from the American participating 2014 tournament, yesterday’s 10:45 AM PT starting Croatia v. Russia game also provided a nice lift for Fox.
Following a well watched England 2-0 win over Sweden, the second Quarter-final battle of Saturday was up 28% in the overnights over the comparable Costa Rica and Netherlands match of four years ago. In fact, started off by Harry Maguire’s goal that got the new knights of St. George off and running yesterday morning and then another by Dele Alli, the England game was also up from its 2014 comparable. Pulling in a 4.1/12 in metered market ratings, the nearly three decades in the desiring move to the semi-finals for England rose 11% from what the Argentina v. Belgium game got in 2014. Viewershipwise, the England victory pulled in an audience of 4.8 million for Fox to be the sixth most watched game of the 2018 tournament. It peaked at 6.4 million in the closing minutes of the match at 8:30 – 8:45 AM PT
“Can you ask the neighbours to put the bins out on Monday? We’re not going home just yet” 🏴 pic.twitter.com/s1g3P3jj34
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) July 8, 2018
Sadly for Fox and soccer fans, there’s a few days of World Cup silence until France take on Belgium on July 10 and then England v. Croatia the next day. The winners of those games will meet on July 15 to see who will be the 2018 World Cup champion – what will we do when it is all over?