Sunday’s 2022 World Cup opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador was watched live by an average of about 7M people in the U.S. across Fox Sports and Telemundo. Ultimately, Telemundo Deportes’ Spanish-language coverage of the match managed to draw nearly a million more viewers than Fox.
The game, which ended 2-0 to Ecuador, scored an average of 4M viewers across across Telemundo, Peacock and Telemundo Deportes’ digital platforms. That’s a 164% increase from the Spanish-language viewership of 2018’s opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
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English-language coverage aired on FS1 and on the Fox Sports App, kicking off at 8am PT/11am ET. On the linear channel alone, an average of about 3.1M people tuned in for the match, and the game reached its peak with 3.5M viewers.
On average, FS1’s telecast was up 78% compared to the audience for 2018’s opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia (1.7M) and 136% compared to the 2018 Group Stage average from Russia (1.3M).
Viewership also increased for the Qatar vs. Ecuador match on BBC, despite the opening ceremony being overshadowed on the main channel by a discussion about the human and environmental costs of the World Cup. The match still managed an impressive peak of 8M total viewers
The match was a hugely disappointing one for a Qatari side who have been preparing for this tournament ever since it was awarded in 2010, and by the end spectators could be seen leaving the Al Bayt Stadium in droves.
The U.S. kicked off its campaign vs. Wales on Monday, which ended in a 1-1 tie. That match was watched by 11.5M on BBC. Numbers for the U.S. viewership of the match are expected either Tuesday or Wednesday.
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