SBD/Issue 189/Sports Media

ESPN, Univision Seeing Significant Gains In World Cup Viewership

ESPN and ABC through eight games of the FIFA World Cup have combined to average 4.247 million viewers, up 80% from an average of 2.363 million viewers for the same number of games in '06, which aired on ESPN2 and ABC. Sunday's most-viewed game was ABC's telecast of the Germany-Australia game, which averaged 4.657 million viewers (ESPN). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes while viewership is "way up over 2006," that does not mean the tournament "can already be pronounced a hit." Some of the ratings boosts "have come from scheduling quirks" -- while ESPN's viewership is up 80% over '06, the U.S. team "didn't play in the first eight games in 2006" (USA TODAY, 6/15).

'10 FIFA WORLD CUP: FIRST EIGHT MATCHES ON ESPN/ABC
DAY
NET
WINDOW (ET)
MATCH
VIEWERS (000)
Fri.
ESPN
10:00am-12:00pm
Mexico-South Africa
2,856
Fri.
ESPN
2:30-4:30pm
France-Uruguay
2,950
Sat.
ESPN
7:30-9:30am
South Korea-Greece
1,997
Sat.
ESPN
9:21-11:21am
Argentina-Nigeria
3,725
Sat.
ABC
2:30-4:30pm
U.S.-England
12,956
Sun.
ESPN
7:30-9:30am
Slovenia-Algeria
1,569
Sun.
ESPN
10:00am-12:00pm
Ghana-Serbia
3,002
Sun.
ABC
2:30-5:00pm
Germany-Australia
4,657
'06 FIFA WORLD CUP: FIRST EIGHT MATCHES ON ESPN2/ABC
DAY
NET
WINDOW (ET)
MATCH
VIEWERS (000)
Fri.
ESPN2
11:52am-1:57pm
Germany-Costa Rica
1,355
Fri.
ESPN2
2:53-5:00pm
Poland-Ecuador
1,718
Sat.
ABC
9:00-11:01am
England-Paraguay
3,082
Sat.
ABC
12:00-2:02pm
Sweden-Trinidad & Tobago
3,445
Sat.
ESPN2
2:55-5:00pm
Argentina-Ivory Coast
2,354
Sun.
ESPN2
8:55-11:00am
Netherlands-Serbia & Montenegro
1,223
Sun.
ABC
11:30am-2:00pm
Mexico-Iran
3,335
Sun.
ESPN2
2:55-5:00pm
Portugal-Angola
2,037

ONLINE FIGURES UP: Nearly 1.3 million viewers watched live and replayed World Cup matches on ESPN3.com through the first three days of the tournament. ESPN.com also delivered 13.2 million visits and 47.4 million page views for its World Cup content over the first three days of the tournament, and ESPN's World Cup mobile offerings generated 11.7 million visits and 70.3 million page views for the first three days (ESPN).

UNIVISION SCORES: Univision is averaging 3.162 million viewers through Saturday's coverage of the World Cup, up 49% from the same period in '06. Saturday's three games averaged 2.562 million viewers, led by 4.110 million viewers for U.S.-England. The U.S.-England audience marked Univision's second highest-rated U.S. World Cup match ever, behind only the U.S.-Mexico round of 16 match in '02. Univision during the first two days of coverage out-delivered the same games on ESPN and ABC in total viewers in the L.A., Miami, Houston and Dallas markets (Univision).

WORLDWIDE INTEREST: DAILY VARIETY's Steve Clarke reports ITV1 averaged 20.1 million viewers for U.S.-England. ITV1's audience share "peaked at 73% and the broadcaster will receive a big lift in advertising income thanks to soccer." Clarke notes more than 1.5 million viewers "watching the action in pubs and clubs via ITV's HD web missed England's only goal due to a 'transmission error'" (DAILY VARIETY, 6/15). Meanwhile, The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Scott Roxborough notes South African TV nets SABC1 and SuperSport3 average more than 11 million viewers for their coverage of Friday's Mexico-South Africa World Cup opener. SABC1 drew a 76% market share, while SuperSport3 earned a 11% share. FIFA yesterday said that "despite the early kickoff," at 9:00am CT, 19% of the Mexican population "with access to television watched the opening match, a 15% increase on the local ratings average for World Cup group stage games" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/15).

AIRING LEGALLY: The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union has indicated that North Korea "has secured legal rights to air World Cup matches live," and denied that the country "had pirated a recording" of the Mexico-South Africa game. South Korean broadcaster SBS had said that the North Korean Central Broadcast Service aired Mexico-South Africa "without permission," but the APBU said that North Korea "had used legal footage 'right from the start' following a deal between the union and FIFA." An APBU spokesperson said, "We have signed a contract with FIFA on June 11, just before the opening game started, to broadcast the matches live in North Korea" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 6/15). In N.Y., Choe Sang-Hun notes SBS said that it "had acquired the sole right" from FIFA to "broadcast the games throughout the Korean Peninsula." The North Korea net "has shown replays of four World Cup games," including airing Saturday's South Korea-Greece game last night "with occasionally favorable commentary on the skills of South Korean players." North Korea's replays "did not carry the audio or graphics from the original footage" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/15).

Networks Dealing With Complaints Caused By
Constant Sound Coming From Vuvuzelas

COPING WITH THE VUVUZELAS: ESPN Exec VP/Content John Skipper said that the net "has taken steps to ensure that viewers can hear announcers" over the vuvuzelas. Skipper: "We always work on the audio mix to provide the best experience we can to our fans." Skipper noted that it is "standard procedure in televising NASCAR to cut down the din from cars' engines so other audio elements can be heard." He said that the net is "'hearing from fans about it' and left open the possibility of further turning down the dial on vuvuzelas in the background." But Skipper added that ESPN "has not lobbied FIFA to ban vuvuzelas and considers them a cherished element of the experience" (NEWSDAY, 6/15). In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib writes the vuvuzelas "have put ESPN in a compromising position: How do you capture the atmosphere and pageantry of the World Cup when a major part of that atmosphere sounds like a beehive on steroids?" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/15). Meanwhile, the GUARDIAN's Gibson & Morris reported the BBC yesterday was "investigating the possibility of transmitting an alternative 'vuvuzela free' version of its World Cup coverage." The BBC "has received 220 complaints and, while it is committed to reflecting the atmosphere in the stadiums on its main coverage, it is believed to be looking into providing a so-called 'clean' feed that would strip out the majority of crowd noise, via the red button" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 6/14).

FOR MORE FROM SOUTH AFRICA: For more World Cup coverage, please see other stories in today’s issue on Hyundai pulling an ad amid criticism from Catholic groups, Dutch female fans being ejected for an ambush marketing effort, South Africa team merchandise selling quickly, ESPN’s on-air talent garnering positive reviews, AT&T Park drawing more than 20,000 fans for a public viewing of Saturday’s game, police taking over security at two venues, FIFA citing tradition in not banning vuvuzelas and late-night talk show hosts discussing soccer.

Return to top

Related Topics:

Media

Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug