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USA-Belgium is the 2nd most-viewed men’s soccer telecast ever in US

MUMBAI: US sports broadcaster ESPN’s telecast of the US’ 2-1 loss to Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 on 1 July averaged 16,491,000 viewers and a 9.8 US HH rating, making it the second most-viewed men’s soccer match in the US ever, across all networks (behind the 18,220,000 viewers and 9.6 US HH rating ESPN earned for US versus Portugal on June 22).

In addition, WatchESPN delivered a platform record average minute audience of 1,107,000 viewers, providing a seven per cent lift to ESPN’s television viewership (previous record was set for USA vs. Germany on June 26). WatchESPN also averaged 3,500,000 unique viewers and 190,200,000 minutes viewed during the match, both records for the platform.

The 2014 event has now delivered ESPN’s six largest audiences for men’s World Cup matches ever. Overall, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to reach more than 99,000,000 people through the first 52 matches.

Additional highlights:

  • ESPN’s television, digital and audio coverage generated a combined average minute audience of nearly 18 million people.
  • At its highest point, ESPN’s telecast averaged 19,543,000 viewers and an 11.5 US HH rating from 5:30 to 6 p.m. while WatchESPN peaked at 1,500,000 concurrent users.
  • ESPN’s telecast is the third most-viewed soccer match – men’s or women’s – in the United States behind ESPN’s record-setting USA vs. Portugal telecast and the 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC (17,975,000 viewers).

Significant TV viewership increases

ESPN continues to generate its largest audiences ever for a World Cup, averaging 4,080,000 viewers and a 2.5 US HH rating for the 56 telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combined.

The 2014 coverage marks increases of 44 per cent and 122 per cent (vs. 2,836,000 in 2010 and 1,838,000 in 2006), and 39 per cent and 92 per cent (vs. 1.8 in 2010 and 1.3 in 2006), respectively.

In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have posted significant audience increases in every key people and male demographic, highlighted by double-digit growth in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 categories.

WatchESPN is averaging 829,000 unique viewers and 36.9 million minutes per game through the end of the round of 16, for increases of 173 per cent and 176 per cent, respectively.

  • ESPNFC.com is also generating significant usage increases, averaging 4,700,000 daily unique visitors for a 42 per cent increase over 2010 and 5,700,000 video starts per day for a 1051 per cent increase.
  • ESPN.com is seeing 13,500,000 average daily unique visitors (a 40 per cent increase from 2010) and 12,500,000 video starts per day (up 177 per cent).
  • The SportsCenter app is averaging 3,800,000 daily unique visitors for a 404 per cent increase over 2010.

Metered markets

New York led all markets for ESPN’s USA vs. Belgium telecast with a 15.0 rating, followed by Hartford/New Haven (13.2), Washington, D.C., (12.8), Richmond (12.3), Boston (12.2), West Palm Beach (12.0), Baltimore (11.4), Cincinnati (11.4), San Diego (11.0), Columbus (10.8), Norfolk (10.8) and Orlando (10.8).

Twenty markets recorded their highest overnight rating for a World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2 ever, including six that were among the top seven largest for the telecast: New York, Hartford/New Haven, Richmond, Boston, West Palm Beach and Baltimore. The additional 14, ordered by highest rating: Norfolk (10.8), Kansas City (10.6), Philadelphia (9.6), Raleigh/Durham (9.4), Greensboro (9.2), Tampa/St. Petersburg (9.0), Greenville (8.9), Pittsburgh (8.7), New Orleans (8.7), Birmingham (8.5), Jacksonville (8.5), Detroit (8.3), Buffalo (7.8) and Oklahoma City (6.6).

Overall, Washington, D.C., continues to lead all markets for matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC through the first 56 games with a 4.5 average rating, followed by New York (4.2), San Francisco (3.9), Los Angeles (3.6), San Diego (3.5), Orlando (3.5), Hartford/New Haven (3.5), Miami/Fort Lauderdale (3.4), West Palm Beach (3.4), Richmond (3.3) and Boston (3.3).

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