Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal matches averaged 5,664,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network, making it the most-watched day of quarterfinal action since at least 1990, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The viewership numbers were up 15 percent from the second day of the 2014 quarterfinals (4,931,000), up 14 percent from the second day of quarterfinals in 2010 (4,982,000) and up 26 percent from the second day of quarterfinals in 2006 (4,490,000).
The Croatia-Russia thriller, which ended with the Croatians defeating the host nation on penalty kicks, set the tone for the viewership milestone, averaging 6,317,000 viewers on FOX. That made it the most-watched World Cup quarterfinal match in English or Spanish since at least 1990, including U.S. matches.
The game was up 20 pecent from the Netherlands-Costa Rica match in the corresponding 2014 window (5,260,000), up 28 percent from Paraguay-Spain in 2010 (4,936,000) and up 66 percent from Brazil-France in 2006 (3,815,000). Adding streaming sources, the match totaled 6,633,000 viewers.
Earlier Saturday, England eliminated Sweden 2-0, with the contest averaging 4,763,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network. The game was up 6 percent versus 2014’s corresponding quarterfinal match, Argentina-Belgium (4,487,000). Adding streaming sources, England-Sweden delivered an audience of 5,026,000 viewers.
Twitter had its best day ever across FOX Sports accounts, with 13.7 million views, up 34 percent from the previous day’s record (10.3 million). The @FOXSoccer handle generated 13.1 million views, driven in large part by highlights around the Russia-Croatia match.