ESPN2 Sees 64% Increase in Households For Euro '08 Over Network Average

If you happen to notice a sense of relief coming from ESPN in the last few days, there is a reason for it.  It’s because, while they are not coming in World Cup numbers, viewers are tuning in to the network’s broadcasts of Euro 2008.


ESPN announced today that, for the 15 Euro 2008 matches shown on ESPN2 through Tuesday, June 17th, the average rating for the tournament is .5, with 521,000 homes tuning in and 655,000 viewers.  Compared to the network average for the same time block (Noon to 5PM eastern) in 2007, this represents a 64% increase in households tuned in to ESPN2 (2007 average of 318,000 homes), a 67% increase in rating, and an 81% increase in viewers (2007 average of 362,000 viewers).  The most watched match of the tournament on ESPN2 was this past Saturday between Sweden and Spain.  The match netted a .9 rating from 831,000 homes and 1.01 million viewers.

In addition to ESPN2, the Spanish-language broadcasts on ESPN Deportes have been averaging an additional 74,000 Hispanic homes per match.  This puts the combined household average of ESPN2 and Deportes for each match at just shy of 600,000 homes.  Interestingly, the most watched match on Deportes so far is the opening-day broadcast of Portugal v Turkey, seen in 123,000 Hispanic homes.

Along with the viewership on TV, ESPN is also getting more eyeballs online.  ESPN’s Soccernet website has averaged over 1 million daily visits during the tournament, an 82 percent increase over the same period during Euro 2004.  The tournament is also contributing to ESPN360’s most watched month online since it’s relaunch in September of last year.

With increased viewership being seen on cable, ESPN will now be hoping for a successful jump to broadcast TV with the Netherlands v Russia quarterfinal this Saturday and the final next Sunday on ABC.  But for now, programmers will be breathing a little easier at the worldwide leader in sports.

20 thoughts on “ESPN2 Sees 64% Increase in Households For Euro '08 Over Network Average”

  1. Where did you find this information? great news though. seems as though these games are outdrawing the Jim Rome(‘s ass) is Burning show which airs during the same time period. Isn’t that just lovely? GOTTA LOVE IT!!

  2. That’s great news about ESPN’s ratings. My concern for ABC is that since it’s a one-off game, other than the final, that there’s little chance of hype or suspense being built up to help the network can large ratings on Saturday.

    The other thing is that I totally forgot it was going to be on ABC instead of ESPN this weekend. I wonder how many other people will do that after getting so used to taping the games on ESPN networks?

    The Gaffer

  3. if 1 million watch spain/sweden on the weekend i can only imagine how many will watch this weekend’s games. the ratings should be very very good.

  4. great post, i dont know why but i love seeing futebol rise in America, in terms of ratings, tv time, highlights on sportcenter,etc

    where can i find ESPN’s press release and when is the next one coming out ?

  5. I’m hearing from a very reliable source that ESPN isn’t happy with the performance of their MLS package and being stuck with so many poor matchups while FSC and HDNet seemingly get better game as well as the fact that ratings will likely be nowhere near the projected or I should say hoped for 1.5 million homes per match by 2010.

    If ESPN dumps MLS that will open up some time for other soccer. I’d love to see some WC qualifying but the problem is that UEFA and CONCACAF allow individual nations to sell the rights to their home matches to networks in other nations. So it complicates the process.

    Also I should point out if ESPN does dump MLS, the league is likely to fold or at least contract substantially and perhaps need to strike a deal with the UMBRO ownded USL-1 league, our second division.

  6. i think the mls can survive on fsc, but if espn creates a soccer only network then there should be plenty of room for mls on there right? seeing as it is the only soccer that is played american prime-time.

  7. True, but if ESPN creates a soccer only network they’d be better of getting the Mexican League with quality football and passion, unlike MLS which at times lacks the first and always lacks the later.

    However, I think this may be worked out with more “flex scheduling” like the NFL. ESPN’s anger apparently revolves around being forced to show bad teams a certain number of times. If they had LA, DC or CHI every week they’d have much higher ratings. But FSC and HDNet want a certain number of games with Beckham and Blanco. That’s really the problem.

  8. John Skipper was delusional when he thought that MLS would eventually become big.

    (I honestly didn’t think MLS can get to 500,000 households, much less than 1 million households, on average on ESPN2 by 2014.)

    MLS is what it is: a 3rd tier league designed to develop kids so that a handful of them will be sold to European clubs for a profit.

    I watched 45 minutes of San Jose vs LA Galaxy a week ago. The quality of play was bad, with players who can’t control the ball with their first touch.

    ESPN will have to make a decision on MLS after 2010.

    My suspicion: MLS will go back to being a “time buy” for the start of the 2011 season.

  9. BTW, another thing I heard is that Nike senses MLS weakness and when the UMBRO acquisition is final they are planning on being more aggressive in marketing USL than UMBRO was. What this will lead to is anyones guess. A stronger second division or a replacement for the current first division.

    Also it is my assumption that MLS is only still in business today because of the large amount of $$$ SUM, the league’s marketing arm makes off the Mexican National Team’s many friendlies and WC qualifiers held on US soil. That money has kept MLS afloat, IMO.

  10. I disagree, I think MLS has shown massive growth in the last 12 months. Relatively speaking, it’s still in it’s infancy and has always faced getting itself into the average american sporting psyche. American Football, Baseball, Ice Hockey and Basketball have had the monopoly for decades but I think things are changing. Once the MLS can offer salaries that match those available in the NBA, NFL and MLB you’ll see more and people begin to view it on an equal footing. Ten years time, Soccer will be a top 5 American sport. You just need to discover a footballing Michael Jordan who’ll pull people in.

  11. A fundamental problem is most Anglicized American soccer fans are used to a European style product. They are willing to watch MLS and give it a chance but the league is very latin in its style and with the exception of the Central Americans who do like MLS, most latins in the US have checked out on it. So the European soccer fan cannot recognize the product and thus trashes it even though by Latin standards it is certainly an above average league. The Latins won’t watch because they can watch their own league. What you have left a listless product which has been propped up by the shrewd financial managment of Garber and Gazids, but whose future is bleak if somehow either the US or Mexico were to miss a World Cup in the near future and I believe unless things change one or the other will miss WC 2010. Second Choice Sven may become last choice Sven after it is all said and done.

  12. Back to Euro 2008 ratings on ESPN2: 0.5% was on the “low end” of my own estimate of what ESPN2 should be getting for 1st round broadcasts.

    No one expected World Cup-like numbers (i.e. 0.8% to 1.0%). Euro Championship is NOT the World Cup.

    I am expecting a 1.2% to 1.5% rating for the final on ABC, especially if two “big” teams were to clash, i.e. Germany vs Italy.

  13. Excellent news on Euro 08. The American public will respond to quality soccer and first rate production. Well done ESPN. Keep up the good work. It is important that any new soccer programming retains top-flight production.

    As to the MLS issue or non issue, events like Euro 08 and the great Champions League finals this year will attract American viewers to MLS. Will they remain happy with the MLS product? If the product continues to grow and improve, then yes. Are the friendlies with European/Mexican clubs very attractive? Well, I just bought two tickets to the Fire-Everton game. I’m looking for good seats to the Barcelona game in Chicago this summer and expect to get back out to see the Fire. I’ve seen the Fire already this summer and then the USA has a qualifier in September in Chicago. So, you tell me if soccer isn’t growing in the US! Oh, forgot that I couldn’t get to the Mexico v. Peru friendly at Soldiers Field a couple weeks ago. With the US economy going down the drain just where and how one should one spend one’s limited resources. Watch more soccer on ESPN!

  14. I’m lapping up the HD action on ESPN. It would be awesome to get the Prem in HD, but that ain’t gonna happen with FSC (their words).

    But, is HD worth it to have to listen to Tommy Smyth?

  15. Given that Italy v. Germany will draw a bigger audience then Man C. v. Bolton, but isn’t it all about production values with the ESPN/FSC comparison. Phil is right HD makes a world of difference. Watch the ABC game to see the difference if you haven’t already, and have a HD set, but FSC, despite their efforts to improve their products, need a 21st century production, and not a 60’s studio.

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