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WORLD CUP, I: CABLE TIME SLOTS UP; NO "WE" IN WORLD CUP
Published June 19, 1998
While ESPN and ESPN2's World Cup ratings are down from '94, the two nets have "scored dramatic" time slot increases over their '98 first quarter numbers, according to Michael Starr of the N.Y. POST. As of yesterday, ESPN's World Cup ratings were up 17% at 8:00am, 60% at 11:00am and 125% at 2:30pm, while ESPN2's time slot increases were even "more dramatic": a 300% increase at 8:00am, 200% at 11:00am and 300% at 2:30pm (N.Y. POST, 6/19). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Steve McKee writes that ABC/ESPN's ad-free game broadcasts "are great, but freedom's just another word for putting commercials someplace else." McKee says that during about 48 minutes of pre, post-and halftime coverage during Monday's U.S.-Germany game, ABC "managed to squeeze in 58 of them." McKee also criticizes ABC's Ty Keough and Brent Musburger for jingoism (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/19). Musburger called the U.S. team's Monday performance "atrocious," adding, "The U.S. doesn't understand how physical they are in worldwide soccer. We haven't improved since 1994. It's a disaster for U.S. soccer if they go winless in the World Cup" (USA TODAY, 6/19).