Viewing audiences for ESPN’s Euro 2016 end in a dead heat against FOX’s Copa America


Despite having a less than favorable time window that featured most games during office hours, as well as zero games featuring the US Men’s National Team and a competition that ran 19 games longer than Copa America Centenario, ESPN’s live coverage of Euro 2016 averaged 997,392 viewers compared to FOX Sports’ average of 1,002,226 for the 2016 Copa America.

Compared to Euro 2012, ESPN’s viewing numbers were down 23% from the Euro 2012 average of 1.3 million viewers per game. Certainly, Copa America divided the attention of many soccer fans. But also Euro 2016’s 20 more games than Euro 2012 was a factor as well as the growing trend of consumers switching to soccer streaming services (where the numbers aren’t reflected in TV viewing numbers).

A few other interesting data points from our research include:

• The Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal averaged 1,541,000 more viewers than the Copa America Centenario final between Argentina and Chile. (The 2016 Copa America final averaged 2,997,000 viewers compared to 4,536,000 for the Euro 2016 final).

• In light of the USA participating in Copa America, which certainly skewed the numbers, FOX Sports’ viewing average for Copa America Centenario minus the games when the USMNT played was 761,360 viewers.

• Out of all of the games shown live, 39% of ESPN’s Euro 2016 matches exceeded 1 million viewers compared to 31% of FOX’s coverage.

• Taking Univision’s Spanish-language coverage into consideration in addition to FOX’s coverage of Copa America, the Copa America Centenario games averaged 4 million viewers compared to the average of 1.16 million viewers for ESPN (English-language) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language) combined.

• For the Euro 2016 final, ESPN Deportes’ 1,361,000 average is the most-watched program in the network’s history.

Here are the English-language viewing figures for Copa America on FOX vs. Euro 2016 on ESPN:

Note: For the number crunchers, the one missing TV viewing number (see below) was the Chile-Bolivia game on FOX. If we estimate that the viewing audience for that game was 710,000 based on the same audience for Jamaica-Venezuela the previous week, the viewing average for FOX’s entire Copa America coverage was 993,000 while ESPN averaged 997,000.

COPA AMERICA       EURO 2016    
Teams Channel Viewing avg.   Teams Channel Viewing avg.
USA vs. Colombia FS1 1,536,000   France vs. Romania ESPN2 665,000
Costa Rica vs. Paraguay FOX 731,000   Albania vs. Switzerland ESPN 682,000
Haiti vs. Peru FS2 138,000   Wales vs. Slovakia ESPN 936,000
Brazil vs. Ecuador FS1 598,000   England vs. Russia ESPN 1,402,000
Jamaica vs. Venezuela FOX 710,000   Croatia vs. Turkey ESPN 692,000
Mexico vs. Uruguay FS1 619,000   Poland vs. N. Ireland ESPN 1,055,000
Panama vs. Bolivia FS1 365,000   Germany vs. Ukraine ESPN 1,259,000
Argentina vs. Chile FS1 862,000   Spain vs. Czech Republic ESPN 459,000
USA vs. Costa Rica FS1 1,600,000   Ireland vs. Sweden ESPN 660,000
Colombia vs. Paraguay FS1 739,000   Belgium vs. Italy ESPN 972,000
Brazil vs. Haiti FS1 624,000   Austria vs. Hungary ESPN 551,000
Ecuador vs. Peru FS2 148,000   Portugal vs. Iceland ESPN 1,072,000
Uruguay vs. Venezuela FS1 589,000   Russia vs. Slovakia ESPN 367,000
Mexico vs. Jamaica FS1 779,000   Romania vs. Switzerland ESPN 502,000
Chile vs. Bolivia FOX Not available   France vs. Albania ESPN 804,000
Argentina vs. Panama FOX 1,150,000   England vs. Wales ESPN 617,000
USA vs. Paraguay FS1 2,061,000   Ukraine vs. N. Ireland ESPN 484,000
Colombia vs. Costa Rica FS2 407,000   Germany vs. Poland ESPN 924,000
Ecuador vs. Haiti FS2 267,000   Italy vs. Sweden ESPN 612,000
Brazil vs. Peru FS1 879,000   Croatia vs. Czech Republic ESPN 535,000
Mexico vs. Venezuela FS1 763,000   Spain vs. Turkey ESPN 869,000
Uruguay vs. Jamaica FS1 392,000   Belgium vs. Ireland ESPN 825,000
Chile vs. Panama FS1 665,000   Iceland vs. Hungary ESPN 1,086,000
Argentina vs. Bolivia FS1 770,000   Portugal vs. Austria ESPN 1,289,000
USA vs. Ecuador FS1 1,878,000   Switzerland vs. France ESPN 1,070,000
Colombia vs. Peru FS1 734,000   Romania vs. Albania ESPN2 221,000
Argentina vs. Venezuela FX 1,035,000   Slovakia vs. England ESPN 836,000
Mexico vs. Chile FX 1,102,000   Russia vs. Wales ESPN2 265,000
USA vs. Argentina FS1 3,290,000   N Ireland vs. Germany ESPN 624,000
Colombia vs. Chile FS1 971,000   Poland vs. Ukraine ESPN2 180,000
USA vs. Colombia FX 1,670,000   Croatia vs. Spain ESPN 811,000
Argentina vs. Chile FS1 2,997,000   Czech Republic vs. Turkey ESPN2 203,000
AVERAGE   1,002,226   Hungary vs. Portugal ESPN 702,000
        Iceland vs. Austria ESPN2 190,000
        Ireland vs. Italy ESPN 648,000
        Belgium vs. Sweden ESPN2 377,000
        Switzerland vs Poland ESPN 821,000
        Wales vs. N. Ireland ESPN 1,451,000
        Croatia vs. Portugal ESPN 1,648,000
        France vs. Ireland ESPN 1,156,000
        Germany vs. Slovakia ESPN 1,593,000
        Belgium vs. Hungary ESPN 1,453,000
        Italy vs. Spain ESPN2 971,000
        England vs. Iceland ESPN2 1,352,000
        Poland vs. Portugal ESPN2 1,271,000
        Wales vs. Belgium ESPN2 1,327,000
        Germany vs. Italy ESPN 2,194,000
        France vs. Iceland ESPN 1,894,000
        Portugal vs. Wales ESPN 1,701,000
        Germany vs. France ESPN 2,051,000
        France vs. Portugal ESPN 4,538,000
        AVERAGE   997,392
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