FIFA World Cup match between US and England draws record TV audience

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More Americans tuned in to watch the US World Cup team tie a heavily favored England on Friday than any other men’s football match in history, according to Fox Corp.

Fox Sports drew a television audience of nearly 15.4 million people for the game, which ended without either team scoring. That’s 6 percent more than the previous high of 14.5 million for the World Cup final featuring Italy and Brazil in 1994, the company said.

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Comcast Corp.’s Telemundo said the US-England match averaged 4.6 million viewers across its Spanish-language television and streaming platforms.

The top two teams in each of the eight World Cup groups advance to the next round. England, which leads its group, will play Wales on Tuesday. The Americans will clinch a spot in the final 16 with a win against Iran the same day.

While US soccer fans hold their breath, it’s shaping up to be a successful holiday weekend for Fox. The network drew record viewers for a regular-season game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Fox also aired a highly anticipated college football matchup between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University on Saturday and will host a slate of NFL games on Sunday.

Fox and Telemundo agreed in 2011 to pay about $1 billion for the rights to televise the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the US.

Four years ago when the Americans failed to qualify, the men’s tournament averaged 5 million viewers across the two networks, marking declines from the previous two tournaments.

Women still hold the crown for highest soccer viewership with 25.4 million people tuning in to Fox to watch the US beat Japan in the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

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