A fan of Poland holds up a scarf as he watches a World Cup soccer match between Poland and Colombia at The Garden at Studio Square NYC in New York on Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Terrin Waack)

US World Cup ratings down 42 per cent without American team

While the immigration debate occupies politicians, the World Cup shows how much people from other countries help make up the fabric of New York.

The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.

The 48 group stage telecasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 per cent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 per cent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.

Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 per cent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 per cent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.

Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.

Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.

Related: England finally wins penalty shootout at World Cup

Related: Defending champion Germany eliminated from World Cup

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The Associated Press

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