Nov 21, 2022; Al Rayyan, Qatar; United States of America forward Timothy Weah (21) reacts after scoring a goal against Wales during the first half during a group stage match during the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The first match for the USMNT at the World Cup in over eight years provided an exceptionally strong audience for Fox.

Per a release from the company, 8.306 million viewers watched the United States-Wales match in English on Monday.

Telemundo chipped in with 3.4 million over all platforms, bringing the match’s average as a whole up to 11.706 million. A million of those viewers watched on Peacock and Telemundo’s streaming platforms, nearly twice as many as the amount who watched on Fox’s streaming platforms.

So, what should we make of this?

A lot has changed in the near-decade since the US last played in a (men’s) World Cup. In that 2014 tournament, which took place in Brazil, the first US match took place against Ghana was in June at 5 PM ET on a Monday. This match took place at 2 PM ET on a Monday in November, days before Thanksgiving. Cord cutting has escalated in those eight years, resulting in a smaller overall TV audience (even accounting for those streaming through vMVPDs (Hulu Live, YouTube TV, etc). That game against Ghana drew an eye-popping 15.9 million viewers over ESPN and Univision.

But in other context, the game did quite well. No MLS, Champions League, or Premier League match in the US draws 11 million viewers, nor do regular season games in the NBA, NHL, or MLB. Only two college football games this regular season have drawn 11 million viewers. Back in 2019, the USWNT’s opener in the Women’s World Cup drew 2.63 million viewers on Fox, an average that increased over the course of the tournament. 11.7 million is a fine base to build on ahead of Friday’s match with England and Tuesday’s group stage finale with Iran.

If the USMNT progresses out of the group stage, Fox will be in line for some ridiculous viewership totals (especially by today’s standards), and Telemundo will be there to even further increase the viewership.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.