SBD/July 2, 2014/Media

Belgium-U.S. Marks ESPN's Best FIFA World Cup Overnight Rating On Record

Belgium-U.S. could end up being the most-viewed soccer telecast in U.S. TV history

ESPN earned a 9.6 overnight rating for Belgium’s 2-1 win over the U.S. in extra time yesterday in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16, marking the cable net’s best overnight on record for a World Cup match. When final ratings and viewership figures become available later today, the match telecast will likely end up being the most-viewed soccer telecast in U.S. TV history. ESPN’s 9.6 overnight for the match from 4:00-6:30pm ET tops the previous record of a 9.1 overnight for U.S.-Portugal in the group stage. Belgium-U.S. peaked at a 14.1 rating toward the end of regular time (5:45-6:00pm). ABC in ’10 earned a 9.1 overnight for Ghana’s win over the U.S. in the Round of 16 on a Saturday afternoon. ESPN has now posted its six best men's World Cup overnights during the '14 event. Belgium-U.S. also drew a peak audience of 1.5 million concurrent viewers on WatchESPN, below the 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers on the product during the Germany-U.S. match last Thursday. Univision Digital also 680,000 concurrent viewers for Belgium-U.S., second all-time for Univision behind the 747,000 concurrent viewers for Germany-U.S. (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

COVERAGE REVIEWS
: Golf Digest's Ron Sirak wrote on Twitter that ESPN has featured "really brilliant coverage" during the World Cup. Sirak: "You cannot put a price tag on how much @espn has grown the value of soccer in the USA the last few weeks." SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "I thought Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman were excellent today for ESPN on the call." The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "I think Taylor Twellman is solid. But, I want Ian Darke and Macca for a game like this one" (TWITTER.com, 7/1). However, in Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes the bright side of the U.S. exiting the event is "at least we won’t have to listen to the pretentious, soccer-boosting, apologetic coverage from ESPN" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/2).

MARKET WATCH: ESPN saw big numbers among local markets during the Belgium-U.S. telecast. There were 20 markets that set local ratings records for a World Cup match on ESPN. That includes N.Y., which led all metered markets with a 15.0 local rating. ESPN’s 15.0 rating in N.Y. compares to Univision’s 5.0 local rating in the market. The only market where Univision topped ESPN was in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (12.0 vs. 9.5). Hartford-New Haven ranked second for ESPN’s telecast with a 13.2 local rating (new local record), while DC ranked third with a 12.8. Dallas-Ft. Worth ranked last for ESPN’s telecast with a 5.5 local rating. The overnight rating for Belgium-U.S. also does not include the Chicago market due to a “significant distortion of the geographic distribution,” which means inclement weather affected the data. Through 56 World Cup matches across ESPN/ABC/ESPN2, DC still leads all markets (4.5 rating), followed by N.Y. (4.2) and S.F.-Oakland-San Jose (3.9) (Karp). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel notes the audience in Dallas-Ft. Worth for the U.S.-Ghana group-stage game ranked 53rd out of 56 major markets, and the market ranked 55th for Germany-U.S. Engel notes the market's high point "was the match against Portugal, where we ranked a 'stout' 48th." Add the numbers from Univision and it is "still not great." Engel writes the World Cup ratings in Dallas-Ft. Worth "are embarrassing," as a sports market as "vibrant, varied and wealthy as ours should be better than this" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/2).

LOCAL RATINGS AMONG MAJOR MARKETS DURING BELGIUM-U.S. MATCH ON ESPN
RANK
MARKET
RATING
RANK
MARKET
RATING
1
N.Y.
15.0
28t
Pittsburgh
8.7
2
Hartford-New Haven
13.2
28t
Sacramento
8.7
3
DC
12.8
31t
Birmingham
8.5
4
Richmond
12.3
31t
Jacksonville
8.5
5
Boston
12.2
31t
Seattle-Tacoma
8.5
6
West Palm Beach
12.0
34t
Detroit
8.3
7t
Baltimore
11.4
34t
Louisville
8.3
7t
Cincinnati
11.4
36t
Phoenix
8.2
9
San Diego
11.0
36t
St. Louis
8.2
10t
Columbus
10.8
38
Ft. Myers-Naples
8.1
10t
Norfolk
10.8
39t
Dayton
8.0
10t
Orlando-Daytona Beach
10.8
39t
Salt Lake City
8.0
13t
K.C.
10.6
41
Buffalo
7.8
13t
Providence
10.6
42
Albuquerque-Santa Fe
7.6
15
Atlanta
10.5
43
Minneapolis-St. Paul
7.5
16
Austin
9.9
44
Denver
7.4
17
Philadelphia
9.6
45
Milwaukee
7.3
18
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
9.5
46
Houston
7.2
19t
L.A.
9.4
47
Nashville
7.0
19t
Raleigh-Durham
9.4
48
Tulsa
6.8
19t
S.F.-Oakland-San Jose
9.4
49
Oklahoma City
6.5
22
Indianapolis
9.3
50t
Memphis
6.3
23
Greensboro-Winston-Salem
9.2
50t
Portland
6.3
24
Las Vegas
9.1
52t
Cleveland-Akron
6.1
25t
Charlotte
9.0
52t
San Antonio
6.1
25t
Tampa-St. Petersburg
9.0
54
Knoxville
6.0
27
Greenville-Spartanburg
8.9
55
Dallas-Ft. Worth
5.5
28t
New Orleans
8.7
n/a
Chicago
n/a
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