As the remarkably open 2018 FIFA World Cup entered its penultimate weekend, the quarterfinalists had everything to play for. The prime-time evening kick-offs (local time) were the more dramatic and they attracted suitably very strong TV audiences, particularly in European markets. Meanwhile, the afternoon matches also drew strong audiences at home. As a reflection of fans’ desire not to miss out on crucial games even if they are on the go, there were also sizeable digital audiences, breaking records in the UK and France.
Match Day 20: Uruguay v. France, Brazil v. Belgium
– Belgium’s QuarterFinal against Brazil drew the country’s highest combined audience of the 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia on Friday evening as 3.71 million viewers tuned in to see the Red Devils’ famous victory on EEN (2.22 million viewers) and La Une (1.49 million viewers). This was marginally higher than the 3.70 million viewers that watched Belgium v. Japan in the Round of 16. A share of 87.1% was achieved in the north (EEN) while 81.5% of viewers in the south watched the coverage. The match peaked at the final whistle (21:53 local time) in both regions, with the combined peak audience totalling 4.16 million viewers. Source: EBU
– 56.68 million watched as Brazil bowed out of the World Cup on TV Globo (15:00 local time), accounting for 28.0% of the potential audience in Brazil and a share of 80.8% of those watching TV at the time. Up to July 6, 169.72 million individuals (83.8% of the potential audience in Brazil) had watched at least 20 minutes of 2018 FIFA World Cup coverage on TV Globo. During the whole of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, in contrast, the 20-minute reach was 164.60 million (84.1% of the potential audience at that time). Source: Globo
– TF1’s live coverage of France’s 2-0 win over Uruguay aired at 16:00 local time on Friday and attracted an average audience of 12.9 million viewers (76% share), peaking at 16.1 million at the final whistle. This was the highest audience and audience share of the tournament so far, as well as the highest French TV audience of 2018. On digital platform MYTF1, a record 1.9 million “live visits” were logged during the match, setting a new record (Denmark v. France attracted 1.3million live visits in the Group Stage). Later in the evening, 9.98 million viewers watched the Quarter-Final between Brazil and Belgium (47.5% share), the highest audience for any neutral match during the event so far. Source: TF1
Match Day 21: Sweden v. England, Russia v. Croatia
– Coverage of Russia’s dramatic Quarterfinal duel with Croatia aired live on Channel One and achieved a rating of 20.0% (equivalent to an audience of 23.90 million viewers). This became the highest rated FIFA World Cup broadcast in Russia since 2002, when ORT (now Channel One) recorded a rating of 22.6% (equivalent to an audience of 26.28 million viewers) for its coverage of Japan v. Russia. 63.4% of all Russian viewers at the time watched the coverage, the highest share of viewing of the tournament to date. Source: Channel One
– An average audience of 15.84 million viewers (26.3% TVR) watched England’s Quarterfinal clash with Sweden on BBC 1 in the UK. This was the second highest audience of the tournament so far in the UK behind coverage of England v. Colombia (17.40 million). This was most likely a result of increased out-of-home viewing, with the match taking place on a Saturday afternoon. The match was watched by 80.2% of all UK television viewers at the time, the highest market share of the tournament so far. It peaked at 16:51, with 19.86 million viewers watching the coverage at full time (also second highest behind 24.43 million v. Colombia). Across digital platforms there were 3.8 million video views conducted by 2.0 million unique users, making the match the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme ever. Source: BARB
– An average live match audience of 1.49 million (37.8% rating) was recorded for HTV2’s coverage of Croatia’s nerve-wracking penalty-shootout victory over Russia. This is the highest audience achieved in Croatia so far at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, the previous high being Croatia v. Denmark (1.46 million viewers). As such, this became the highest rated programme of any genre in Croatia in 2018. The audience exceeded any rating in Croatia for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (37.6% for Brazil v. Croatia) and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (23.7% for Netherlands v. Spain). Source: EBU
– SVT1 achieved Sweden’s highest FIFA World Cup audience since 2002 for Sweden v. England: an average of 2.77 million viewers – a massive 91.7% share of people watching TV on Saturday afternoon – saw the Blågult exit the competition early, and it was the top-rated sports broadcast in 2017/2018 (28.4% TVR). Source: MMS
– In Germany, 14.01 million viewers (53.3% share) watched coverage of Russia v. Croatia on ARD (20:00 local time). This is the highest audience recorded for a neutral match on German TV so far at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Source: ARD
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.