Argentina/France World Cup Soccer Final Set Fox Broadcast, Peacock Streaming Records

Fox Dec. 20 reported that a record 16.8 million viewers Dec. 18 watched Argentina defeat defending World Cup champion France 4-2 on penalty kicks. The viewership was up 48% from the 11.3 million who watched the 2018 final between France and Croatia.

The tally topped the previous ratings World Cup final record holder: the 1994 final between Italy and Brazil, which was watched by 14.5 million, according to Nielsen. It also topped the 15.5 million viewers for the USA/England group play match on Nov. 25.

The final generated 3 million streamers across NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform and 9 million when adding in Telemundo. Indeed, when including Telemundo, 22.3 million combined viewers in U.S. watched the final on linear TV. The match narrowly lost out to the the NCAA College Football National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (22.6 million) and the Winter Olympics debut in February (22.5 million).

Overall, Sunday’s final ranks fifth all-time for soccer TV matches viewed in the U.S. The highest-ever TV soccer viewership was the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S and Japan, which was watched by 26.7 million people. The 2014 Germany/Argentina men’s World Cup final generated 26.7 million, followed by the 2014 U.S./Portugal group play match (24.7 million) and the 24.3 million who watched Spain play Holland in 2010.

Amazon Prime Video Lands a Soccer ‘GOAT’

NEWS ANALYSIS — Amazon Prime Video, unlike other subscription streaming pioneers Netflix and Hulu, has never shied away from live sports. In addition to a smattering of New York Yankees games and sponsorship of Major Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders, Amazon’s biggest deal in the U.S. involved securing exclusive rights to “NFL Thursday Night Football,” featuring the first-ever female broadcast team.

In Europe, Amazon made headlines securing exclusive broadcast rights to French soccer’s top Ligue 1. The league received a surprise boost Aug. 10 when Argentina’s Lionel Messi, often considered the greatest soccer player ever, left Spain’s FC Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in a two-year deal.

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“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain,” Messi said in a statement.

Overnight, Amazon’s gamble on French soccer would appear to have struck gold. Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, could play in PSG’s match against Brest on Aug. 21.

Amazon swooped up Ligue 1 rights at a discount (275 million euros/$321 million) with professional soccer across Europe dealing with the fiscal fallout from the pandemic that has resulted in shuttered stadiums and zero ticket/concessions revenue. Prime Video typically includes live sports at no additional charge to subscribers.

For Ligue 1 access, Prime Video is charging subs an additional 13 euros ($15.18) monthly, on top of the 6 euros ($7) base Prime membership fee.

Observers contend Amazon needs 1.2 million subscribers to break even on Ligue 1. Prime Video currently has about 4.5 million French subs; and 175 million worldwide.

“Amazon proved agile in buying the rights on the cheap, but it still has to demonstrate it can leverage them to significantly increase its e-commerce business footprint,” Francois Godard, analyst at Enders Analysis, wrote in a recent note.

Mexico vs. Sweden World Cup Soccer Generates Telemundo’s Highest Non-Super Bowl Digital Audience

With the United States and Canada not playing in the ongoing 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, Mexico represents North America’s biggest draw.

The El Tri didn’t disappoint (except for losing 3-0), with the June 27 streaming presentation Mexico vs. Sweden in group play generating a record 1 million concurrent live streams on digital devices across, the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, and the NBC Sports app.

Despite the loss, Mexico (and Sweden) advances to the elimination round following defending champion Germany’s 2-0 loss to South Korea.

The digital tally was the most for any event in NBC Sports Digital history, excluding Super Bowls, and the only event other than the Super Bowl to hit the 1 million mark.

Fox Sports has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to Russia 2018. Telemundo is owned by Comcast, which is attempting to acquire 20thCentury Fox Film.

In addition, the 1.02 million concurrent livestreams topped by 53% the prior non-Super Bowl mark – 665,000 for the Mexico-South Korea match on June 23.

On June 26, the World Cup reached 3.2 million unique digital users and generated 106 million minutes viewed. To date, the quadrennial tournament has reached 9.3 million total unique users and generated 89.1 million livestreams and 1.35 billion total minutes viewed, averaging 2.0 million livestreams per match.

Notably, Argentina’s last-minute win over Nigeria, which advanced the Lionel Messi-led squad to the second round, delivered an average of 2.85 million streaming viewers – ranking as Telemundo Deportes’ most-watched weekday match through June 26.

Telemundo delivered its best-ever June 26 daytime (7 a.m.-5 p.m. ET), averaging 1.58 million digital viewers for its World Cup coverage – topping the prior record set June 20 by 41% (1.12 million).