And then they were four. France vs Belgium tonight 10th July and England vs Croatia tomorrow are the two semifinals that will see the four teams fight it out for a place at the finals on Sunday 15th July. As the English fans become cautiously optimistic of the ‘football coming home’, the England team had endeared itself to the hearts of many football fans in the African continent. Their defeat of Sweden in the quarterfinals was the most watched by a majority of fans in Ghana (46%), Nigeria (22%) and Rwanda (49%), drawing the highest average total share of all TV viewing audiences at 33% across 6 African countries where GeoPoll’s audience measurement service has been running.

Viewership of Quarter-Finals by Audience Share

A majority of football fans in the continent tuned in as Sweden conceded 2 goals to England. The 33% average total share drawn from 6 African countries may be attributed to the timing and the ‘English Premier League’ factor. The match aired at night which is more convenient, unlike the day matches which caught many fans at work and/or away from their favorite viewing venues.  England’s whole squad of 23 players come from the Premier League whose popularity in Sub-Saharan Africa is only rivaled only by Asia. An estimated 276 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa watch the Premier League every year.

2018 World Cup viewership during quarter finals - GeoPoll
                                          2018 World Cup viewership by audience share during quarter finals – GeoPoll


The 2nd most watched quarter-final was between Brazil and Belgium. The match also aired at night with an average of 30% of all TV viewers watching as the Brazilians were sent packing. It was sad for many fans to see the one of the most favored World Cup football team go home. In a recent survey by GeoPoll a month to the start of the 2018 World Cup, A majority of the respondents (22%) drawn from 6 African countries predicted Brazil as the winners.

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As the French team sent Uruguay home with a 2 nil defeat, an average of 30% of all TV viewing audiences tuned in. There has been a peculiarly keen interest by African fans towards the French team due to what is now been termed as the ‘African’ element. According to the South African, 17 players on France’s 23 man roster at this year’s World Cup have African roots.

The least watched quarter-final was as Croatia beat Russia on home soil to secure their chance in facing England tomorrow, Wednesday 11th July. An average of 26% of all TV viewing audiences watched this match from across 6 countries.

Viewership of Quarter-Finals by Channel Share

NTV achieved higher audience share compared to other World Cup broadcasting channels in Kenya throughout all the matches. Their highest peak was during the Uruguay vs France where they commanded 19% of all TV viewing audiences.

In Ghana and Nigeria, Supersport had the highest channel share of 29% during the match between Uruguay vs France and a tie in channel share in Nigeria at 11% as England beat Sweden and Belgium beat Brazil to qualify.

In Uganda, Supersport and Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) had the highest viewership during quarter-finals with strong competition been observed between the 2 stations which attained an average of 9% channel share for each game.

In Tanzania, TBC1 achieves the highest audience share in all the quarterfinal matches with a 20% channel share lead during the match between Uruguay vs France

2018 World Cup viewership by channel share during quarter finals - GeoPoll
                                 2018 World Cup viewership by channel share during quarter finals – GeoPoll

France vs Belgium Showdown

Today’s first semifinal match between France and Belgium will most likely spike the viewership from the continent as a cross-section of football fans continue to view the France team as the last standing ‘African’ team.

According to CNN, Tuesday 10th will be the first time Belgium has contested a World Cup semifinal in 32 years. The same article notes that for Thierry Henry, his loyalties are ‘split’ between his country team France where he remains as the all-time leading scorer for the French team and his current role as the assistant coach for the Belgium national team.

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Football coming home

According to FIFA, England is known as the home of football as the history of football can be traced back to Britain. Shouts of ‘Football’s coming home’ which started at the quarterfinals have now become deafening. As they face Croatia on Wednesday 11th July, we will be following all the action to bring you the viewership numbers from across Sub-Saharan Africa

GeoPoll has been and continues to collect media audience measurement data throughout the World Cup in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Rwanda.  Contact us now to get these deeper insights into the World Cup viewership in Africa or to sign up for our audience measurement service.