While the match itself was nothing to write home about, the 2022 World Cup got off to a positive start on FS1.
3.071 million watched the opener between Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday morning. Four years ago, the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia averaged just 1.7 million viewers. That match aired on a Thursday in June on Fox, compared to this year’s Sunday in November on FS1. Spanish language viewership on Telemundo was not immediately available.
UPDATE: Telemundo averaged 3.17 million viewers for the match, per the Sports Business Journal. The streaming audience for Telemundo’s coverage, which included Peacock, added an additional 832,000 to the tally. Fox had 159,000 watching on its streaming and digital platforms. Put it all in a blender, and you get a total audience of 7.23 million in English and Spanish across both linear and streaming.
This game went head to head with NFL pregame coverage on the league’s various TV partners, which prevented it from reaching a higher mark. 3.613 million watched The NFL Today on CBS at noon, while 4.345 million watched Fox NFL Sunday at the same time. ESPN’s three-hour Sunday NFL Countdown broadcast started at 10 AM, an hour before the World Cup kicked off, and averaged 1.307 million viewers. The four-hour NFL GameDay Morning on NFL Network averaged 465,000 viewers.
Fox has to be somewhat encouraged by the strong start, despite the competition from NFL pregame and the matchup between two less heralded nations in the opener.