The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off in spectacular fashion with Russia thrashing Saudi Arabia 5-0. However, the slightly underwhelming opening fixture meant ratings across Europe couldn’t match the opening of the 2014 tournament, which kicked off in Sao Paulo with Brazil versus Croatia.Related Endemol Shine: How The 'Black Mirror' & 'MasterChef' Owner Can Cook Up A Multi-Billion Dollar Sale
The main reason that the opening fixture drew less figures than four years ago was the fact that it aired during the day, rather than in a primetime slot.
In the UK, the opening ceremony aired on ITV, sans Robbie Williams middle-finger salute, was watched by just over 1.5M viewers. The match itself was watched by an average of over 4M viewers with a share just below 40%, peaking with over 5M viewers as Russia ran rampant in the second half. However, this was well below the 8.2M viewers that tuned in to see Brazil beat Croatia four years ago. That game peaked with over 12M viewers. However, this year’s match was broadly in line with the 2010 World Cup opener in South Africa, which drew 4.2M viewers in a 3 PM kick off.