Soccer fans in Germany and Norway appear to be boycotting the World Cup in Qatar. Viewership inside both of these more progressive European countries has been significantly down compared to previous tournaments.

In Norway, soccer fans tuning in to NRK to watch the World Cup have fallen dramatically. In fact, the average number of viewers in the opening seven group stage matches is about 188,000 per game.

Compare this to 2018 figures when the same network averaged around 521,000 viewers during the same stretch.

Norwegian experts claim that there could be multiple reasons for the falloff. “This is a special championship in many ways, which makes it difficult to compare the TV figures with previous editions,” stated NRK sports editor Espen Olsen Langfeldt.

“We have never had a soccer World Cup at this time of year, nor in a country that receives such massive criticism.  That of course has an impact on the numbers”

Norwegian television experts are cautious about the numbers

TV 2 press manager Jan-Petter Dahl also claimed that the current tournament is clearly unusual. “It is far too early to say,” said Dahl.  “We are basically talking about a World Cup in December versus a World Cup in June. 

We are talking about early games, different matches, different times of the day.  It is too early to make any comparisons based on previous championships.”

Nevertheless, the figures are alarming. Norway is also one of the more socially-conscious countries in Europe. While timing of the current World Cup is less than ideal for many around the globe, it seems as if people could be boycotting Qatar’s involvement of the tournament.

Viewership in Germany is also down

Along with Norway, World Cup viewership in Germany is also significantly down as well. ESPN Bundesliga reporter Archie Rhind-Tutt shared German reports that claimed that viewership of the tournament is way down.

The report suggested that the Qatar World Cup is averaging about 9 million viewers in Germany. This is 16 million less than the average viewership per match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The German players previously protested being silenced by FIFA prior to their opening match of the tournament. During their team photo, the starting XI posed for their team photo covering their mouths.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Russian Look

Guide to World Cup 2022

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of the biggest event in soccer!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
The Groups: We breakdown each group and all the teams
The Kits: Check out what every team will be wearing on the field this fall
Predictor: Play out every scenario with our World Cup Predictor
World Cup Bracket: Map out the entire tournament, from the groups to the final