World Cup Final Earns 9.7 Overnight Rating, Third-Highest Ever For Match On ESPN/ABC
ABC earned a 9.7 overnight rating yesterday for Germany’s 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup final, up 13% from the 8.6 figure the net generated for Spain-Netherlands in ’10. Yesterday’s rating is the third-highest number for any World Cup match on ESPN/ABC, trailing only the ’94 Brazil-Italy final (12.8) and a ’94 Brazil-U.S. Round of 16 match (10.4). Yesterday’s game peaked at a 14.2 rating from 5:15-5:30pm ET. DC led all markets with a 15.4 local rating, followed by San Diego with a 13.4. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC averaged a 3.1 overnight for all 64 World Cup matches, up 29% from ’10 (THE DAILY). In Miami, Michelle Kaufman notes ratings for this World Cup on ESPN and Univision "smashed previous records, partly because of the time zone, but also because this tournament was really exciting." American fans have "finally joined the world's biggest sports party, and both networks did a good job of broadcasting the excitement back home" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/14).
BIG TOURNAMENT FOR UNIVISION: In N.Y., Jonathan Mahler in a front-page piece wrote under the header, "Biggest Scorer In World Cup? Maybe Univision." The World Cup has been a "record-breaking event for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities -- Los Angeles, Miami and Houston." It even "won the New York market for some games." Prior to yesterday's final, Univision already had "drawn roughly 80 million viewers," or about 60% more than it logged for the '10 tournament. The numbers "serve as a kind of exclamation point on the sharp growth of America’s Hispanic population over the last two decades." The "unprecedented exposure that it has received from the World Cup could not have come at a better time for Univision." Univision Exec Chair Haim Saban and his partners are "now exploring the possibility of a deal in the middle of a flurry of big media industry mergers." In recent months, they have "spoken to at least two large companies, Time Warner and CBS, about selling Univision for roughly" $20B (N.Y. TIMES, 7/13).
HUGE GAINS IN FEMALE VIEWERS: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Ourand, Botta & Mickle cited network execs as saying that gains with the female and older male demos are the "surest sign yet that the World Cup’s popularity reached new heights." A total of 1.793 million women in the 18-49 demo watched the June 17 Brazil-Mexico match on Univision, "compared with 1.714 million men" in the same demo. Univision Senior VP/Network Sales & Strategy Research Debbie Shinnick said, "We've never seen anything like that. The fact that we kept these women around to watch soccer is incredible.” Ourand, Botta & Mickle note ESPN also saw "strong increases in every female demographic throughout the monthlong tournament." A record 42 million women watched games on ESPN during the group stage, a "higher number than tuned into female-skewing networks like Lifetime, HGTV and Bravo during that same two-week period" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue). SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted through the World Cup quarterfinals, female viewers 18 and over had increased 59% over '10, while females 18-49 were up 39%. ESPN Senior VP/Research & Analytics Artie Bulgrin said that all of the "major race and ethnicity groups were also showing double digit growth" from '10. He added that Hispanic World Cup viewership was up 66% "across all ESPN networks and non-Hispanics" were 58% (SI.com, 7/13).
THE VEIL OF DARKE-NESS: Ian Darke once again got a fair amount of praise on Twitter for his call of the World Cup final. FoxSportsSouthwest.com's Andrew Gilman wrote, "All this time I've been worried about subject/verb agreement. Now that I've listened to Ian Darke, it's clearly overrated." The N.Y. Daily News' Peter Botte: "Want to hear Ian Darke call one Stanley Cup Final game and Doc Emrick call one World Cup game." Awful Announcing's official Twitter feed stated, "Let's get Ian Darke and Doc Emrick in a room and let them conduct a study on the history of adverbs." USA Today's George Schroeder wrote, "We need Ian Darke calling the SEC game of the week. Now." The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones wrote Darke was "so good not to talk on that incredible Christ the Redeemer shot." However, USAToday.com's Mike Foss wrote, "Ian Darke and Steve McManaman having a go at the director for cutting to Christ the Redeemer twice. One breathtaking shot, fine. Not two" (TWITTER.com, 7/13). NFL Network's Rich Eisen in a special to THE MMQB writes Ian Darke is "as good a play-by-play announcer as there is in any sport and I would love to hear him call an NFL game." Darke’s calls on the U.S. games on ESPN "were clinics on how to sound impartial while still broadcasting the emotions of a game to a highly partisan American audience chock full of folks new to the sport and event." His "use of the English language was beyond refreshing, especially for a sports broadcast." Eisen: "I know broadcast teams for the upcoming NFL season are set but perhaps in 2015, someone will give Darke a pop" (MMQB.SI.com, 7/14).
SOME KINKS IN THE SYSTEM: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Kimberly Nordyke noted some World Cup fans in areas of New York and Pennsylvania "were irate" when WENY-ABC cut into the "last few minutes of the World Cup final to cover a tornado warning." The station interrupted the broadcast "at the 114-minute mark," just after Mario Gotze scored the game's lone goal at the 113-minute mark. The interruption "lasted through the final six minutes of the game" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 7/13). THE STREET's Jason Notte wrote under the header, "World Cup Proves ESPN Can't Juggle Sports." When another "big, heavily sponsored property gets in the way ... ESPN has no problem relegating the world's premier sporting event to a third-tier offering." Somehow, the World Cup "got knocked back to ESPN2 while Wimbledon plodded along on ESPN" (THESTREET.com, 7/13).