American interest in the World Cup has nearly halved when compared with 2014, television ratings have revealed.
According to data from Nielsen and obtained by Bloomberg, 44 percent fewer people are watching the 2018 World Cup games—presumably because the United States failed to qualify. Fox has been attracting an average of 1.98 million viewers to each game, compared to 3.55 million on ESPN in 2014.
Fox and Telemundo purchased the rights to the 2018 Russia World Cup and 2022 Qatar World Cup for more than $1 billion. Telemundo is drawing about 1.4 million fewer viewers per game than Univision did in 2014.
The time difference may also be affecting numbers. The game starting times vary from 5 a.m. in Los Angeles to the middle of the afternoon for New York, when most people are at work. During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the time difference with New York was just one hour, compared to seven hours with Moscow.