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7 Most Revealing Facts About World Cup TV Viewing Numbers

world cup trophy1 600x450 7 Most Revealing Facts About World Cup TV Viewing Numbers

The coverage of 2014 FIFA World Cup continues to break records in the United States — both on television and online.

The summer of 2014 will be remembered as the summer of soccer.

Here are 7 of the most revealing facts about the World Cup viewing numbers:

1. The viewing audience for the World Cup beat the NBA Finals and World Series.

The 2014 NBA series averaged 15.5 million viewers, while the final had 18 million watching. Meanwhile, the 2013 World Series averaged 14.9 million viewers, with 19.2 million watching the final game.

When you take into consideration that the NBA Finals and World Series games were shown during primetime when most of the World Cup games are shown earlier in the day, the following numbers are even more eyeopening:

• 24.7 million for USA-Portugal,
• 21.5 million for USA-Belgium,
• 16.9 million watched Mexico vs Netherlands,
• 15.8 million watched Ghana vs USA,
• 14.1 million watched Germany vs USA,
• Etcetera.

2. An average of 11.8 million watched the quarterfinal between Brazil and Colombia, confirming that sports fans are still watching the World Cup in huge numbers even with the USA out of the tournament.

3. Univision’s average of 10.4 million who watched Mexico vs Netherlands was the most viewed telecast in Spanish-language history in the United States.

Over 1.0 million unique viewers streamed the match from Univision’s website.

4. ESPN’s 3.5 million unique viewers who watched the broadcast of USA-Belgium on WatchESPN.com broke the digital record for ESPN’s most viewed sports game online.

The game was shown from 4-7pm ET/1-4pm PT on a Thursday afternoon.

An average of 16,491,000 watched the game on ESPN television, while 5.1 million watched it on Univision — for a total of 21.5 million viewers. For ESPN, this was the second most-viewed soccer match in the US (second only to the record audience for USA-Portugal).

5. Univision’s 2014 World Cup audience has reached close to 74 million total viewers. 

Univision’s World Cup audience numbers are currently pacing +40% ahead of World Cup 2010 numbers through 58 matches televised.

6. So far in the World Cup, ESPN/ESPN2/ABC is averaging 4,080,000 viewers, up from 2,836,000 in 2010 and 1,838,000 in 2006.

7. The most-watched MLB game in 2014 was Texas Rangers vs LA Angels (June 22, ESPN): 2.9 million. World Cup Group Stage average for ESPN, ESPN2 & ABC was 3.5 million viewers.

 

All of these numbers are outstanding — and even more so when you consider that in 2010 that ESPN estimated that the stated audience size for its weekday World Cup games would have increased by 23% if public viewing were taken into account. If you consider that the public viewing audiences were larger for 2014 than 2010, then the above numbers look even more impressive.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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