Into the dog days of summer we go! The month of June gave us easily the most exciting World Cup group stage and early knockout round games – at least in my lifetime. Safe from the emotional peaks and valleys that come with watching the U.S. play, the first 50 matches of the tournament delivered [a lot of] late drama, team turmoil, amazing goals, and unforgettable moments.
Countries like Belgium, France, and Portugal had a good month in front of U.S. viewers with several appearances on TV prior to the tournament. On over 17 TV channels, soccer viewers were treated to 4.3 matches per day in June – a number down from normal, but the matches this month came with higher stakes.
Mexico, to no surprise, played in the two most-viewed matches of the month. In their opener against Germany, over 11.1 million people tuned into FS1 and Telemundo to see their thrilling upset [at the time] of the defending champions. Next up for El Tri was another 11 million viewers in their second group stage match against South Korea, whom they defeated on the day, but would go on to thank for a second life.
Gosh, how could I get this far without mentioning the tournament’s two biggest names – Messi and Ronaldo! Happy to have played in their fourth tournament, neither player [or their country] escaped June and only Portugal cracked the top five most-viewed games of the month (9.7 million). Of course, if you know your Roman history, you’ll know June is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth. Mired in the hype and unreasonable expectations, perhaps this divorce from the World Cup was a fitting coup de grâce for the two best players in the world on the downslope of their international careers, as new stars like Mbappé took the spotlight.
Exceeding even our own expectations, June and the first two-thirds of the World Cup more than delivered – onto July and the final!
In June, the World Cup averaged 3.9 million U.S. viewers per match.