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While the inquisition begins in the United States around the national team crashing out of Copa America, FOX and TelevisaUnivision are picking up the pieces. With the USA’s elimination on Monday night preceded by Mexico’s capitulation on Sunday, the two most popular teams for viewers in the US are out of the tournament. Consequently, US viewership of the Copa America will take a massive hit.

Initial viewership reports showed strong audience figures for Copa America. The USMNT’s win over Bolivia scored a record for the most-watched non-World Cup broadcast in FOX’s soccer history. The FOX broadcast channel averaged 3.165 million viewers. Likewise, TelevisaUnivision pulled 1.5 million viewers. Yet, for the Spanish-language broadcaster, Mexico is a bigger pull. Mexico’s win over Jamaica had an audience of 2.5 million on Univision.

With both the United States and Mexico out, TelevisaUnivision can still pull significant audiences because of the Spanish-language connection. Even though Mexico pulled the biggest audience for the Spanish broadcaster, other nations are popular. For instance, Argentina’s opening-game win over Canada had 1.83 million viewers on Spanish-language TV. Even Uruguay against Panama on matchday one had a strong audience with 1.6 million tuning in on average.

For FOX, though, the damage is clear. Mexico and the United States move the needle, and they are the driving forces behind FOX’s coverage. For example, the Euros coverage included spots previewing the USMNT. There was not the same type of coverage for the likes of Canada or Panama, the two CONCACAF teams competing in the Copa America quarterfinals. That takes what was a potentially record-breaking tournament for FOX and turns it into ordinary contests.

The significance of the United States in FOX viewership of Copa America

If searching for a benchmark in how much of a role the USMNT plays in major tournament viewership for FOX, take the World Cup as an example. In 2018, the USMNT failed to qualify. One of the first reactions was how this would affect FOX’s audience as the broadcaster aired its first World Cup. It was, by many accounts, a failure. FOX averaged over 4 million viewers for the first three games of the 2022 World Cup. Four years earlier, just 1.374 million watched the first three games of the World Cup. That showed a 193% increase from 2018 to 2022. The main difference was the USMNT’s participation. For reference, a group-stage game against England averaged 15.377 million viewers on FOX.

This extends to the Copa America, which shows FOX will have the same issues as before. The 2021 Copa America was the first to air on FOX, and its audiences were tame. Just 1.8 million people watched the Copa America Final between Brazil and Argentina as Lionel Messi won his first major international trophy. Almost double that tuned in just for the United States.

Argentina and Brazil will be the keys to FOX’s success in the Copa America. Lionel Messi, as seen with Major League Soccer and previous tournaments, is enough to draw an audience. The further along in the tournament Argentina goes, the more people will watch. Upcoming rivalries will also be significant for FOX. On the other side of the bracket of Argentina, Brazil may play Uruguay in the semifinals. If one of those teams loses, and one or two of the smaller teams advance, less of the general public will want to watch. That is the risk of the Copa America when the United States and Mexico fail to succeed.

FOX’s luck continues to run out

Ever since acquiring the rights to the FIFA World Cup tournaments, FOX Sports has had little to no luck. In its first World Cup, the United States didn’t qualify for the 2018 competition. Then at World Cup 2022, the US was knocked out by the Netherlands in the Round of 16.

Hopes for the United States at Copa America 2024 had FOX Sports’ lead analyst predicting that the USA would reach the final. And then everything came crashing down.

Certainly, FOX Sports will be hoping for a better tournament for the national team at World Cup 2026. After all, it can’t get much worse than Copa America 2024.

PHOTOS: IMAGO

Copa América 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Copa!

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Publish date : 2024-07-02 17:28:34

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Author : theamericannews

Publish date : 2024-07-03 13:52:40

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