Women's World Cup Finale Down On Fox; Austin Tops Local Markets
Fox drew a 10.0 overnight rating for the USWNT’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands yesterday afternoon in the FIFA Women’s World Cup finale. That figure is down 34% from four years ago, when Fox drew a 15.2 overnight for U.S.-Japan in the finale in a primetime window. That 15.2 remains a record for any soccer game in the U.S. Eight years ago, in a similar afternoon time slot, ESPN drew an 8.6 overnight for Japan’s win over the U.S. in penalty kicks. U.S.-Netherlands yesterday also was 20% higher than the rating for France-Croatia in the men’s World Cup last year, which also aired in an early afternoon window. Austin led all markets for U.S.-Netherlands with a 16.7 local rating, followed by San Diego (14.9) and DC (13.1). For the entire WWC, Fox Sports (Fox/FS1/FS2) is up 1% in the overnights, but it remains to be seen if that will hold when viewership figures are released. Meanwhile, following yesterday's match, Fox drew a 1.3 overnight for Red Bulls-Atlanta United, marking the network’s best MLS overnight rating on record (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
NO "I" IN TEAM: Fox World Cup Exec Producer David Neal indicated that his "biggest takeaway" from producing the tournament was the "importance of on-air talent and the depth of on-air talent." He said that the group that called the games and analyzed from the studio was his "best group of on-air talent of his 41-year sports television production career." Neal believes that having two broadcast teams on site in France was the "right number." FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed a desire to expand the field to 32 teams when the Women's World Cup is next held in '23. Neal said that should the field grow beyond the current 24 teams, he would want at least "one more broadcast team to travel onsite to the tournament" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/8).
CAN'T WIN THEM ALL: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth noted Fox' Aly Wagner made comments on the broadcast shortly after U.S.-Netherlands that "seemed to override whatever previous misgivings she had" about the Women's World Cup final taking place the same day as the Gold Cup final and Copa America final. However, after that, the "hyperbole heightened." Fox' Heather O'Reilly in the studio said, "I'm so incredibly proud of this team." O'Reilly, a former USWNT player herself, "first cleared her throat because of her emotions." Meanwhile, Fox' Alexi Lalas said, "You're looking at one of the greatest teams in sports history." Hoffarth: "Without warning, the verbiage got to a point where viewers could have felt as if they were being scolded for holding on to any ill will toward U.S. players who rubbed in a 13-0 opening victory weeks ago over an overmatched Thailand squad with over-the-top goal celebrations" (L.A. TIMES, 7/8).
NOT EXACTLY A TEAM PHOTO: AD AGE's Alexandra Jardine notes Bleacher Report yesterday "tweeted out a piece of graphic art with the hashtag #OneNationOneTeam that immediately came under fire for picturing, as well as some of the players, random individuals seemingly unconnected to the team." The graphic included actors Brad Pitt, Matthew Perry (who is Canadian) and the cast of ABC's "Modern Family." Also included were fictional characters like Captain Marvel and Deadpool (ADAGE.com, 7/8).