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Brazil-Croatia is ESPN US’ highest-rated opening soccer World Cup match

BrazilvsCroatiaMUMBAI: US sports broadcaster ESPN’s Brazil vs. Croatia telecast on Thursday – the opening game of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil won by the home team 3-1 – averaged a 2.8 rating and 4.435 million viewers on ESPN, to rank as the highest-rated and most-viewed opening game of the World Cup on record (back to 1994), according to Nielsen.

The rating is 49 per cent higher than the opening match in 2010 (1.9, South Africa vs. Mexico), and the audience is 55 per cent larger (2.856 million viewers).

Out of the 205 Group Play games ESPN networks has aired (records back to 1994), this contest is the fourth-highest-rated and fourth-most-viewed, topped only by three U.S. games:

Audience (P2+)
23-Jun-10U.S. vs. Algeria46,161,000
18-Jun-10U.S. vs. Slovenia3.45,200,000
22-Jun-94U.S. vs. Colombia2.94,810,000
12-Jun-14Brazil vs. Croatia2.84,435,000

Including a record audience on WatchESPN, across all platforms ESPN’s presentation of the first of 64 games in the next month averaged 4.889 million viewers at any time.

The top-10 metered markets are Washington, DC (5.1), Boston (5.0), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (4.7), Los Angeles (4.6), New York (4.5), San Francisco (4.3), Hartford-New Haven (4.3), Providence (3.9), Austin (3.9) and Orlando (3.8).

ESPN Digital: On WatchESPN, Brazil vs. Croatia produced a record 1.1 million unique viewers and 50.1 million minutes across all streams and devices, up 132 per cent and 172 per cent, respectively, compared to the first match of the 2010 World Cup. The 1.1 million unique viewers were the highest ever for a WatchESPN event, and total minutes was second only to the 2014 BCS Championship Game.

Consumption of digital content across ESPN platforms was also up. Video starts on ESPNFC.com increased by 553 per cent, compared to day one of World Cup 2010. ESPN.com, which includes ESPNFC.com, was up 26 per cent in unique visitors from the first day of World Cup 2010, including 12.8 million video starts for clips, up 62 per cent. Unique visitors to the ESPN Mobile Web were up 65 per cent, while unique visitors to the ESPN SportCenter app was up by 465 per cent, compared to the first day of World Cup 2010.

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