While it’s not a surprise, it is jarring to see how much the Miami-Fort Lauderdale TV market is dominating in 2018 FIFA World Cup consumption.
There has been some reporting on how much Miami is watching, but the full picture wasn’t clear until yesterday. Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports Executive Vice President for Research, League Operations & Strategy, tweeted out ratings numbers combining English- and Spanish-language ratings.
Top ten World Cup markets through the round of 16, English and Spanish coverage combined:
Miami – 9.7
Los Angeles – 6.5
New York – 4.7
Washington – 4.6
San Francisco – 4.3
Houston – 4.2
San Diego – 4.0
Dallas – 3.8
Austin – 3.7
Providence – 3.3
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) July 6, 2018
According to Mulvihill’s numbers, that means nearly 10 percent of all TVs One single television ratings point (Rtg or TVR) represents 1% of television households in Miami and Fort Lauderdale in a given minute. That number is three full percentage points higher than the next-highest market, Los Angeles, and double the third-place market (New York).
Now that the quarterfinals are concluded and no teams from the Americas remain in the tournament, ratings going forward may be affected. However, with that kind of head start, it appears unlikely that Miami will be dethroned as the market watching the most World Cup action.
What’s the significance?
So why does this matter? Beyond being an interesting bit of trivia and a bragging right for South Floridians, it is a solid argument for supporters of club soccer. Miami is the only city without Major League Soccer in the top five. It also cuts into the “bad sports town” argument frequently made about Miami. It’s not bad, it’s just different. And soccer moves the needle.
Last but not least, it’s likely no coincidence that Fútbol Miami MLS has coordinated its meeting Thursday with City of Miami commissioners to fall between the semifinal matches on Tuesday and Wednesday and the third-place and final matches on Saturday and Sunday. As Fútbol Miami MLS attempts to build support for its November referendum on the Melreese site, utilizing World Cup fever is a natural choice.
It remains to be seen how much this World Cup will affect the sport locally beyond this month, but it is an undeniable fact that there is demand for high-quality soccer in this part of the world.