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World Cup: FOX tallies big audiences with knockout round coverage

FOX Sports scored some big audiences with its coverage of the knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from Russia.

21st Century Fox Inc.'s broadcast network FOX (US) delivered audiences surpassing 5 million viewers on June 30 and July 1. The performance was led by the 5.91 million viewers for Croatia's penalty-kick triumph over Denmark on July 1, which ranks as the network’s most watched match of the 2018 World Cup, and the most-viewed English-language men’s soccer match in the U.S. since the 2014 World Cup final. The match peaked with 7.59 million viewers on FOX in the 4:30 p.m. ET quarter hour, according to data from Nielsen Holdings.

Adding in an average-minute audience of 250,000 and 846,000 streaming watchers, the Croatia-Denmark match had a combined 6.16 million viewers.

Earlier that day, host Russia, in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, eliminated Spain with penalty kicks, which averaged 5.12 million watchers, FOX’s fourth-most watched match of the tournament to date.

On June 30, Uruguay defeated Portugal before 5.88 million viewers on FOX to rank as the FOX Sports second-most watched event of the tourney. The preceding match saw France send Argentina home via a 4-3 win that averaged 4.69 million viewers. The Germany-Sweden group-stage match on June 23 ranked as the third-most watched match of the 2018 event to date for FOX with 5.45 million watchers.

FOX outpointed Telemundo (US), which reportedly averaged 3.2 million watchers for the four June 30-July 1 matches, but did not disclose the individual telecast figures.

NBCUniversal Media LLC's Telemundo Deportes has bolstered its soccer portfolio by acquiring the Spanish-language media rights in the U.S. to the 2019 Copa America, the quadrennial men’s soccer event organized by CONMEBOL, South America’s ruling body for the sport.

The addition of the 12-team 2019 Copa America event, which is slated from June 14 through July 7, will coincide with Telemundo’s coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup from France, which kicks off June 7. The finals of both tournaments are scheduled for July 7, which should give Telemundo an intriguing doubleheader.

The U.S. rights for Copa America have not been awarded yet. The beIN SPORTS (US) and beIN SPORTS en Español (US) channels held English and Spanish rights in the U.S. for the 2015 edition.

In addition to the 10 South American nations defending champion Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela — the 46th edition of Copa America also features Japan and Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup. The winner earns the right to compete for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup, the preliminary event ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Univision held the U.S. Spanish-language rights to the 2016 Centennial Copa America in the U.S. and the 2011 Copa America in Argentina.