Already dubbed the “best-ever FIFA World Cup” even before the Final, the 2018 FIFA World Cup came to a thrilling end in Moscow on Sunday, with football fans and casual viewers alike following on TV around the world. In many territories, broadcasters achieved viewing figures that matched and even bettered the consistently excellent audiences they had enjoyed right throughout a thrilling and unpredictable FIFA World Cup that kept football lovers everywhere glued to their TVs.
FIFA has provided “overnight” TV audience data for a number of markets throughout the course of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Additional data from these and other territories will be audited and compiled to provide a consolidated global audience report in the coming months.
Match Day 25: France v. Croatia
– TF1’s live coverage of Les Bleus’ historic victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final achieved an average audience of 19.34 million viewers, equivalent to 33.2% of the potential television audience in France. Peak viewership was 22.21 million viewers, achieved during the award ceremony. A further 1.01 million viewers watched the Final on beIN Sports 1, bringing the combined average audience to 20.35 million viewers. This average audience was one of the highest in French history and the highest of any genre in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, it is likely that out-of-home viewing in France will ultimately see contribute to a much higher national audience, which may place the broadcast even higher in the historical context. 82.2% of people watching television at the time tuned into the coverage of the Final, a higher share of viewing than any other match in recent history, including the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final or the Final of EURO 2000, where France were also crowned champions. Source: TF1/beIN Sports
– In Croatia, an average live match audience of 1.538 million viewers (39.2% rating) watched the Vatreni’s historic first Final on HTV2. The audience was actually marginally down compared to coverage of the national team’s Semifinal against England, which averaged 1.542 million viewers (39.3% rating). This is most likely a result of increased out-of-home viewing, with many viewers visiting fan zones, public screens and bars/restaurants to watch the culmination of their country’s incredible World Cup run. Excluding coverage of the Semi-Final, this was the highest rated programme of any genre in Croatia since the 2006 FIFA World Cup (when a 47.0% rating was achieved for Brazil v. Croatia, equivalent to 1.95 million viewers). A market share of 88.6% was gained, the highest of the tournament in Croatia. Source: EBU
– The Final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia was broadcast live by RTR on Russia 1, which received a TV rating of 16.2%, equivalent to 20.81 million viewers nationally and an audience share of 53.9%. Viewing peaked at 21.0% (26.94 million). This was the highest neutral match audience of the tournament, and was also higher than the audiences for Russia’s Group Stage matches against Saudi Arabia (14.1%) and Egypt (15.7%). Overall, the broadcast reached 30.1% of the Russian TV universe (one-minute reach), excluding those watching out of home in bars or fan parks and those watching online. The audience was higher than for any match (including Russia matches) at UEFA EURO 2016 or at the FIFA World Cups of 2014, 2010 or 2006. The audience was also higher than for any neutral match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and was lower than only one Russia match at that tournament (Japan v. Russia, 22.6%). Source: RTR
– In the US, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final aired live in English on FOX and in Spanish on Telemundo. The combined audience across the two networks was 16.01 million (11.33 million on FOX and 4.69 million on Telemundo), a TVR of 5.2%. This was by far the most watched match of the tournament in the US, ahead of Germany v. Mexico which delivered a combined audience of 10.56 million. The audience on FOX was the highest for the network during the tournament, almost double the previous highest audience (6.32 million for Russia v. Croatia in the Quarter Finals) and the most watched non-NFL telecast of any kind on FOX in 2018. Viewing on FOX peaked at 14.62 million, also nearly double the previous highest peak of the tournament (7.80 million during Russia v. Croatia). Including streaming sources, the average audience on FOX platforms was 11.82 million, a digital up-lift of 4.4%. Through the tournament, FOX’s FIFA World Cup content delivered a record-shattering 3.6 billion total minutes (60 million viewer hours) and 558 million total video views across streaming, digital and social platforms. Prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the previous record for a one-month period was October 2017, with 1.5 billion total minutes (25 million viewer hours). Source: FOX/Telemundo
– The FIFA World Cup Final attracted a combined average live audience of 40.45 million viewers in Brazil (kick-off midday local time). 38.61 million viewers watched the match on Globo (19.1% rating), while an additional 1.59 million viewers tuned in to pay-TV channel SPORTV (2.95% rating) and 0.25 million (1.3% rating) on FOX Sports. This was the highest combined audience of the tournament for a neutral match in Brazil, beating the 32.84 million viewers achieved for Uruguay v. Portugal. This exceeded the audience recorded for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final, when a combined 38.35 million viewers watched coverage of Germany v. Argentina. The rating on Globo was also higher than the ratings achieved on the same channel for both the 2010 (14.6%) and 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals (18.9%). Source: Globo
– An average audience of 21.32 million viewers (28.2% TVR and 76.1% share) watched the Final in Germany on ZDF. This was the highest audience 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia for a neutral match, beating the 19.23 million viewers (25.4% rating) that watched ZDF’s coverage of Croatia v. England. It was also the highest audience recorded for a neutral match since 26.57 million viewers watched the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany Final between Italy and France. Source: ARD/ZDF
Coverage of the France v. Croatia Final, which aired on both CCTV-5 (48.06 million) and CCTV-1 (7.73 million), recorded a combined live match audience of 55.78 million viewers (4.3% rating). This was the highest FIFA World Cup audience since South Africa 2010, when the Argentina v. Germany Quarter-Final received a combined audience of 61.84 million viewers across CCTV-5 (54.50 million), CCTV-1 (2.01 million) and eleven local TV channels (5.32 million). Coverage on CCTV-5 peaked at 55.43 million viewers, the second highest peak in China at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, behind only Brazil v. Costa Rica which peaked at 62.83 million viewers. Source: CCTV
– Live coverage of the Final aired in Korea Republic (kick-off midnight local time) simulcast across the three major free-to-air broadcasters (MBC, SBS and KBS2) and delivered a combined audience of 4.53 million viewers (9.4% rating) the highest neutral audience of the tournament. This was also higher than any neutral audience from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (highest Côte d’Ivoire v. Japan; 3.79 million viewers, 7.8% rating, 42.7% share). Almost half of all TV viewers watching at the time (49.6%) were tuned into coverage of the final, the highest share for any match at the tournament not to feature the Korea Republic team. Source: Starcom Korea
– A combined live match audience of 12.15 million viewers watched coverage of the final between France and Croatia in Italy. 11.69 million viewers (19.9% rating) watched coverage of the match on Canale 5, while a further 0.46 million (0.8% rating) viewers followed on Mediaset Extra. This was the highest combined live match audience for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in Italy, beating the 11.25 million viewers achieved for coverage of Croatia v. England (11.45 million viewers across Canale 5 and Mediaset Extra). Source: Mediaset IT
Note: Unless specifically referenced, these figures are preliminary and do not include digital streaming or out-of-home viewing. FIFA’s final audience report, available after the competition, will include audiences from all markets across all match days.