World Cup ratings still strong even without U.S.

Looks like a healthy of portion of the U.S. audience still is watching the World Cup even though our boys lost.

From Sports Media Watch:

The Brazil/Colombia FIFA World Cup quarterfinal earned a combined 11.8 million viewers on ESPN and Univision Friday afternoon, the top audience of the round. ESPN alone earned a 3.6 U.S. rating and 6.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast-nationals, making the match the most-watched World Cup quarterfinal ever on a single U.S. network. Univision finished not far behind with 5.5 million for its coverage.

On Saturday, the Netherlands/Costa Rica match drew a similarly strong 10.9 million across the two networks, including a 3.4 U.S. rating and 5.8 million viewers on ESPN — the second-largest audience for a quarterfinal on a single network. Again, Univision was close behind with 5.1 million.

Prior to this year, the top mark for a single quarterfinal telecast was 5.7 million for Argentina/Germany on ABC in 2010.

And this from ESPN.


ESPN’s presentation of Saturday’s Netherlands vs. Costa Rica match, a 0-0 tie in which Netherlands advanced after extra time in a shootout at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, was seen by an average audience of 5,791,000 viewers based on a 3.4 fast national rating, according to Nielsen, making it the second most-watched FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The television audience fell behind only Friday’s Brazil vs. Colombia, seen by 6,349,000 viewers based on a 3.6 fast national rating.

On WatchESPN, the match reached 1.1 million unique viewers and 60.4 million total minutes, and Argentina vs. Belgium reached 756,000 unique viewers and generated 31.9 million total minutes.

Top-10 markets for Netherlands-Costa Rica: San Francisco (6.6), Washington, DC (6.4), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (6.2), San Diego (5.8), Baltimore (5.6), Las Vegas (5.6), Los Angeles (5.4), New York (5.4), Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg (4.6) and Hartford-New Haven (4.5).

Argentina vs. Belgium:

The earlier match on Saturday (Argentina vs. Belgium on ABC) delivered an average audience of 5,183,000 viewers based on a 3.2 rating. Top 10 markets: Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (5.5), Los Angeles (5.4), Washington, DC (5.3), San Francisco (5.2), San Diego (5.1), New York (4.8), Atlanta (4.7), Albuquerque-Santa Fe (4.5), Columbus, Ohio (4.3) and Richmond-Petersburg (4.3).

Quarterfinal Average Audience:

In all, two of the four 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal matches rank among the top five matches in the round by audience across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Brazil 2014 quarterfinal matches averaged 5,582,000 viewers, reflecting increases of 29 percent vs. 2010 (4,337,000) and 68 percent compared to 2006 (3,318,000). The 3.3 US household ratings average for 2014 are up 18 percent vs. 2010 (2.8 US HH rating) and 43 percent over 2006 (2.3 US HH rating).

Most-watched World Cup Quarterfinal Matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC:

Date Matchup Viewers Network
July 4, 2014 Colombia vs. Brazil 6,349,000 ESPN
July 5, 2014 Netherlands vs. Costa Rica 5,791,000 ESPN
July 3, 2010 Argentina vs. Germany 5,714,000 ABC
July 10, 1994 Romania vs. Sweden 5,666,000 ABC
July 9, 1994 Brazil vs. Netherlands 5,580,000 ABC

Significant Television Viewership Increases Over 2010 and 2006

Through 60 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC are averaging 4,190,000 viewers based on a 2.6 US household rating per match. The 2014 audience reflect increases of 42 percent and 114 percent (vs. 2,947,000 in 2010 and 1,961,000 in 2006) in viewers, and 37 percent and 86 percent in ratings (vs. 1.9 in 2010 and 1.4 in 2006)  (Note: Ratings and viewership numbers are based on the specific match windows, not including pre-match studio coverage)

The highest-rated markets for World Cup matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC: Washington DC (4.6), New York (4.3), San Francisco (4.1), Los Angeles (3.7) and San Diego (3.7), Hartford/New Haven (3.6), Orlando (3.5), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (3.5), Richmond (3.4) and West Palm Beach (3.3).


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