ESPN Draws Top Overnight For WC Semifinal Game Despite Germany's Rout Of Brazil
Despite Germany scoring five goals in the first 29 minutes on its way to a 7-1 rout of Brazil yesterday, ESPN drew a record overnight Nielsen rating for a FIFA World Cup semifinal match. The net earned a 4.1 overnight from 4:00-6:00pm ET. No men's World Cup semifinal has ever aired on ABC. The Germany-Brazil telecast peaked at a 5.8 overnight from 5:45-6:00pm ET. N.Y. led all markets with a 7.5 local rating, followed by Hartford-New Haven (6.4) (THE DAILY). SI's Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter feed, "Thought Ian Darke and Steve McManaman did really well today expressing how inconceivable this game has been." USA Today's Dan Shanoff wrote, "This is Ian Darke and Steve M’s finest performance of the tournament. Brilliant broadcasting under 'appalling' conditions." NFL Network's Rich Eisen: "Steve McManaman now in his second consecutive hour of showing complete and utter disdain for Brazil on @ESPN coverage."
CHARACTER DRIVEN: Yesterday's match generated a total of 35.6 million tweets, Twitter said, the highest total ever for any single sports event. Germany's fifth goal, scored by Sami Khedira, generated an activity volume of 580,166 tweets per minute, also a new Twitter record. February's Super Bowl XLVIII, by comparison, generated 24.9 million tweets and a peak volume of 381,605 tweets per minute (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). NBC's Craig Melvin said the "reaction on Twitter" to the match "was immediate, everything from Oprah handing out goals to new takes on Brazil's flag to depressed versions of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue." NBC's Tamron Hall said, "Incredible numbers on social media" ("Today," NBC, 7/9). ABC's Bob Woodruff said social media "was on it’s 'A' game" during and after the match ("Nightline," ABC, 7/9).
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE: SPORTSJOURNALISM.org's Michael Bradley wrote ESPN's World Cup coverage "deserves praise," as network execs have covered the event "just about perfectly." Host Bob Ley "is the consummate pro, and it’s great to wade through the various accents of the analysts sitting with him." Its game coverage "has been outstanding, and it has captured the World Cup ethos quite well." Even though the net "has shied away from any kind of controversy ... there is a sense of the party that surrounds the World Cup in just about every broadcast ESPN stages." The announcers "have been tremendous, creating a sense of the importance of the games while still providing enough technical analysis to make hard-core fans happy." ESPN "deserves credit for its World Cup Tonight wrap-up show that summarizes the day’s events, provides a look ahead and continues to put the whole thing into context" (SPORTSJOURNALISM.org, 7/8). Meanwhile, ESPN's Alexi Lalas said of how he and his colleagues covered the U.S.' loss to Belgium, "I am confident we did a good job. Because I think we gave some context immediately, which is not easy to do. Having said that, I think that we are at a point where we shouldn’t be satisfied that we are in a World Cup, and we shouldn’t be satisfied with getting out of our group. That’s OK to say. There should be critical analysis of our players and our team, and that’s OK. And I think that we will continue to do so." He added, "This team is a better version of itself under Jurgen Klinsmann, but I certainly think there are things this team could have done better. And in the immediate aftermath, I think my colleagues at ESPN had some perspective on that" (USATODAY.com, 7/8).