Two of the most talked about sporting events in America happened after Thanksgiving Day and they were both aired by the same media company.
Here’s a look at the record-setting performances for sports over the long holiday weekend.
What Happened: One of the most anticipated matches of the 64 scheduled 2022 World Cup games was a contest between USA and England in the Group B qualifying games to advance to the elimination games.
Team USA drew with England 0-0, giving the team a chance to advance out of Group B with a win over Iran in the upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 29 match.
The match against England was aired on Fox, a unit of Fox Corporation FOXFOXA. It saw 15.3 million viewers (peaking at 19.6 million) and set a record as the most-watched men’s soccer match on U.S. television.
The previous record holder was the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy, which saw 14.5 million viewers. The 1994 Word Cup was held in the U.S.
Fox said viewership for the USA vs. England match was up significantly from 2014 World Cup games of Team USA, the last World Cup to feature the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Fox also saw a record-setting television performance on Saturday thanks to the NCAA matchup between second-ranked Ohio State and the third-ranked University of Michigan.
An average of 17 million viewers (a peak of nearly 20 million viewers) tuned in.
The game, which saw Michigan win 45-23, was the most-watched regular-season college football game since 2011 and the most-watched college football game ever on Fox.
Viewership was up 3% from last year’s matchup between the two teams.
Dallas bested the New York Giants with a 28-20 victory at AT&T Stadium — the most-watched NFL regular-season game ever.
Fox broke a record set back in 1990 from a Monday Night Football matchup between the Giants and San Francisco 49ers, which had 41.5 million viewers.
Why It’s Important: Media companies continue to bet big on live sports in the current television environment. Live sports have been one of the sectors resistant to cord-cutting and watching on demand.
Fox, Comcast Corporation CMCSA and Paramount Global PARAPARAA are shelling out $7 billion for the combined rights to Big Ten conference matches for sports, ending a long relationship with Walt Disney Company DIS owned ESPN.
The sports wins follow-up on Fox airing the 2022 World Series to strong ratings and the NFL regular season games seeing strong viewership.
Along with the recent sports wins, Fox could also benefit from the 2022 election, which likely saw strong advertising revenue in the months of October and November.
Going forward, Fox could see some wins again with the airing of the USA vs. Iran match on Nov. 29 and the airing of the Big Ten Football Championship game on Sat. Dec. 3.
The media company also has a huge catalyst in February as the home of Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023. Super Bowl ads were 95% sold out earlier this year, with 30-second ads going for $6.5 million to $7 million each.
The Super Bowl will also feature Rihanna as the halftime performer, which may boost viewership among non-sports fans.
Fox is expected to report second-quarter financial results in February and could show strong advertising demand for both the second quarter and the upcoming third quarter.
Fox Price Action: Fox shares are down 1% to $29.31 on Monday and are down 16% year-to-date in 2022.
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