The Lancashire Evening Post reported that only 20 hardy souls turned up at the BBC's costly giant screen in the northwest English city on Thursday to watch the match, after just four people and a dog braved the miserable rain for the earlier Group E games.
The public service broadcaster was slammed by one member of parliament for wasting money on the 27-metre screens dotted across the country, which cost 500,000 pounds (910,000 dollars, 725,000 euros) each and 5,000 pounds a day to operate.
"It would have been cheaper, and probably gained more of an audience for the games on show, if they had bought five plasma screens and given them to the people there and told them to invite their friends along," said Nigel Evans.
Live screenings in Liverpool and London were scrapped after trouble flared during the transmission of England's opening World Cup game against Paraguay.
Former mill town Preston was once a hotbed of football and the city's big screen is outside the National Football Museum at English Championship club Preston North End's Deepdale ground.