Spain-Italy Most Watched Match So Far And Other ESPN Euro Ratings News

As we head into the final weekend of Euro 2008, ESPN decided to take the occasion yesterday to put out a new press release talking about how the tournament is doing viewership wise through the quarterfinal round.  So, what did they have to say?

As noted in the headline, the Spain v Italy quarterfinal shown on ESPN Sunday was the most watched Euro 2008 match before the semifinals.  The game scored a 1.4 rating, with 1.39 million homes and 1.91 million viewers tuning in.  Given these were two of the highest-profile teams in the tournament, the result doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  Overall, in six matches shown on the ESPN, the average rating is a .9, with 835,000 homes and 1.1 million viewers.  Compared to the same time slot (2:30-5PM eastern) on ESPN in 2007, this represents an 80% increase in rating, a 90% increase in households, and a 116% increase in total viewers from the network average.

Meanwhile, ESPN2 in 16 matches aired has a .5 rating with 506,000 homes and 635,000 viewers, which respectively represent a 67%, 59%, and 75% increase on ESPN2’s average for the same time slot in 2007.  And the online video service ESPN360 has had it’s biggest month in history between Euro 2008, the US Open, and Wimbledon, with eight of the 10 most viewed single events being Euro matches.

As for the one game broadcast on ABC, the Netherlands v Russia quarterfinal finished with a 1.2 rating and 1.84 million viewers according to ratings site TV by the Numbers.  Compared to other Saturday afternoon sports broadcasts, it roughly fell in the middle of the pack.  The match finished well behind FOX Saturday Baseball and the Men’s Gymnastics Olympic Trials on NBC, but it did finish ahead of the rest of NBC’s afternoon sports lineup and the PGA Tour on CBS.

Overall, the ratings seem fairly positive given this is an event without an obvious American interest and with most of its matches falling in the middle of the workday. Positive enough to ensure its return in four years time, or to cause ESPN to bring in more European soccer? We will have to wait and see. For now, the focus will be on a big finish with Sunday’s soccer doubleheader on ABC, with the LA Galaxy playing DC United in MLS action before the Germany v Spain final.

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