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Viewership Numbers For ESPN Euro '08 Broadcasts So Far Are Not Bad

So, after having over 1 million viewers tune in for the UEFA Champions League Final last month, how is ESPN doing with the early broadcasts for Euro 2008?  The answer is not as well as the final, but fairly decent overall.  According to the Associated Press, these were the numbers for each game broadcast over the first three days:

Saturday (ESPN Classic)
Switzerland v Czech Republic- 169,000
Portugal v Turkey- 291,000

Sunday (ESPN2)
Austria v Croatia- 445,000
Germany v Poland- 683,000

Monday (ESPN2)
France v Romania- 393,000
Netherlands v Italy- 553,000

Note that these numbers are just for the English language broadcast, and doesn’t include the ESPN Deportes Spanish language broadcast.  Do the math, and it comes out to an average of 422,000 viewers per match.  While ratings are dependent on households tuned in and not total viewers, that would suggest an average rating of .3 so far.  While expected due to being available in more households, all four matches on ESPN2 did better than the two shown on ESPN Classic.  The four games shown on ESPN2 had an average audience of over a half-million.

For ESPN, these numbers are ok, given these are group stage matches and not the more dramatic all-or-nothing knockout rounds.  The best news of the bunch maybe the over 500,000 for Netherlands v Italy, given that was squarely in the middle of the American workday.  Now ESPN will be looking for these numbers to build as the tournament goes on, especially with the final airing on broadcast network ABC.  In reality, while good numbers early are nice to have, it will be the numbers at the end that will determine how much of a success ESPN’s Euro 2008 broadcast will be.

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  1. numberwang

    June 28, 2008 at 8:30 am

    For the 1st time in my entire adult life I am proud of ESPN !
    As a Brit living the last 14 years in the US it was wonderful to see the US taking the beautiful game as seriously as it deserves.
    Great coverage by ESPN with a nice balanced mix of commentators and pundits . Some to love, some to hate.
    May the force be with you ESPN and please continue to broadcast games to the USA.
    The American soccer loving public deserves to be spoilt !

  2. PCFC

    June 26, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Well I don’t really want to talk about England’s form (or lack thereof), but I do want to comment on ESPN’s coverage of the tournament. I absolutely love what ESPN has done with the Euros. Every game televised live, with quality commentary (yes I do like Foudy as an analyst), and great camera work. Soccer viewers make it fashionable to criticize ESPN coverage, but I must say, it has been flawless coverage and I encourage ESPN to continue with such.

    Anyone with comparable numbers of ESPN2 and ESPN Classic timeslots?

  3. Matuzalek

    June 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Who misses England in the cup beside England of cours. From 1966 they represent at the most mediocrity in progress. The only success English team has is in promotional department.

  4. Paul Bestall

    June 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

    And so they shouldn’t be missed. Englands arrogance about its standing in World Football always catches up with us. We were awful in WC2006, truly awful. By not taking Bent and Defoe, who at the time were the two most in form English strikers and rely on two players who simply were not fit was tactical suicide. Same as replacing Eriksson with McClaren, we deserved not to qualify for these championships because we were bloody rubbish, Dropping points against Macedonia, Isreal, Croatia and Russia and we still thought we should be there. Lunacy.
    I’ve enjoyed this tournament thoroughly, sure I miss England not being there, but that hasn’t taken away my appreciation of all the other teams and some of the wonderful football we’ve seen.

  5. Hedy

    June 17, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Actually, ESPN ad revenue has been over three times what was originally expected. Don’t flatter yourselves, England is not missed.

  6. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Very true Tampa Soccer. The Germans have for years been overly dismissive of teams from the Balkans and E. Europe. They got theirs today to say the least!

    The same can be said for Americans and Mexicans who don’t respect the Central Americans. Trust me being in touch with the CONCACAF scene. The day for Honduras, Guatemala, Panama etc. is coming and in the case of Mexico they’ve already been humbled a few times by the nations I named. The US is getting ours next.

  7. tampasoccer

    June 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, people took one word very personal. I am obviously biased against footballing nations who have problems with performing basic functions of the game such as stopping and receiving the ball. Such nations, Germany, Sweden, Austria, England, who play kick and run football, are a sore sight for me. And every time they lose, I believe that the Gods of football smile.
    That is why Germans, Brits, etc. don’t know what to do with technically skillful teams from the Balkans or the Latin countries. Case in point: Croatia v. Germany just now. The Germans made the ball cry: clueless, with total lack of imagination. I have a smile on my face because of that game.
    Again, I have my baises in the game, and we are all entitled to an opinion. But I do believe that the Gods of football have a big smile on their face after today’s game(or any time a kick-and-run style of play loses to skill).

  8. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I don’t buy atrocious. Yes Hudsonland has a point, but the rest of you, looking poor in victory doesn’t define atrocious. Try being in my position as a US fan, supporting a truly atrocious national team by any definition (a team who had a similar 0-0 against FYR Macedonia not long ago BTW).

    I don’t think a team that makes the 1/4 finals of 3 straight major competitions can be defined as atrocious simply because you don’t like the style they play.

  9. Hudsonland

    June 12, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Would you settle for ‘capable of atrocious performances’? ‘Cause I don’t know how else to characterise a 0-0 at home against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

  10. Lonnie

    June 12, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I’d agree with Tampa soccer as far as to say that England were atrocious at WC2006. They just squeaked past Paraguay & TandT in the group stage, drew with Sweden and then just barely beat Ecuador to reach the quarters. Not a display of any conviction from a “major power” in world football. Not everyone can win every game and every tournament that’s obvious but the English side in 2006 were struggling and that was obvious to anyone watching that tournament.

  11. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

    What exactly does atrocious mean Tampa Soccer? Reaching the 1/4 finals of the last three major competitions. So has Argentina been atrocious since they didn’t get out of group play in the 2002 WC. Spain, atrocious when they got eliminated in the round of 16? Brazil atrocious when they lost 3-0 to Mexico in Copa America? Mexico atrocious when they lose to the USA time and time again.

    England may have under performed but calling them atrocious is a major major stretch.

  12. Ryan

    June 12, 2008 at 10:10 am

    How do these ratings compare with ESPN2s normal mid day programming is the real question I think. Does anyone have those numbers?

  13. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 9:47 am

    We can argue about the football but I guess my point is these matches would not even be on ESPN had they realized England would not qualify. The Euro rights were bought by ESPN simply for England. It is as simple as that. I certainly hope they diminished expectations for advertisers when England did not qualify. Otherwise we’ll be back to pubs and bars to watch the Euro in 2012.

  14. tampasoccer

    June 12, 2008 at 9:41 am

    England’s national team has been attrocious for years. High expectations, a lot of talent, and nothing to show for. Even if ratings would have been better, it would have been another bitter disappointment. So: good riddance, England, and come back next time when you show you deserve it!
    I know ton of people who are watching every second of the tournament: some at work on 360, other, like myself, are DVR-ing all the games and staying away from the internet in the afternoon.
    I am sure ratings will go up on weekends and during the playoff stages.
    I said it earlier: the ESPN coverage has been nothing short of spectacular: with Gray, Mustoe, Healey, Rae, Smyth, just world class. Compare with the Wynalda, O’Brien disaster.
    Well done, ESPN, well done!!!!!!!!!(And I watched a couple of games on HD: beauty)

  15. Simon Burke

    June 12, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Can I just say how I LOVE MY – its incredible quality for an internet broadcast, the plays are up same day and I can fast forward with ease. Plus while at work it makes me actually enjoy work – I get it as I have Verizon Fios and its just made life so much easier.

  16. Simon Burke

    June 12, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Hi Kartik
    You are half right, the ratings would be higher and I bet ESPN bid expecting England to be there.
    Would the football have been better? No chance. England in general have been dreadful to watch for a long time – they are showing signs of improvement under Capello but only signs. It would be McLarens England anyway, not Capello’s.

    Dont get me wrong I am English and want to see them do well but by were awful in WC 2006 despite reaching the 1/4’s and we were dreadful to watch in qualifying barring a couple of back of back to back 3-0’s.

    Russia may have been pasted 4-1 but they were very good to watch at times and played nice on the floor passing. Croatia underwhelmed but I am sure they will improve.

  17. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 8:48 am

    England had a rough time in qualifying no doubt. But so did Spain, Turkey, Russia, Portugal, etc. England’s draw against FYR Macedonia (concession to our Greek friends) is far from the only poor result a power nation had in the Euros.

    So why obsess over England’s poor results and not focus on Spain’s or Portugal’s? Perhaps because everyone in the US pays more attention to England’s results which just proves my point.

    The football being better is my opinion. I saw England in person at Wembley and then saw the same US team perform significantly better against Spain and Argentina who are allegedly or at least according to the sham rankings FIFA keep two of the top teams in the world. So based on my most recent experience comparing the opposition to the national team I know best, England plays some good football while Spain and Argentina are stale and somewhat disorganized.

  18. Hudsonland

    June 12, 2008 at 8:11 am

    “The ratings would be much higher if England had been in the tournament …”


    “and quite frankly the football would be better.”

    Not true. All England had to do to be there was get a draw at home to Croatia. Or beat Macedonia at home. Or Israel away. Epic fail. Croatia and Russia are there not because of the Russian pitch but because they were better over 12 games than England.

    I think if the tournament gets decent ratings even without England that might be more of a wake-up call to the sports media than if England had been there and the ratings were slightly better. It demonstrates the growing maturity and sophistication of the fan base in this country. I hope.

  19. Kartik

    June 12, 2008 at 7:49 am

    The ratings would be much higher if England had been in the tournament and quite frankly the football would be better.

    While england faced trouble in qualifying thanks to Russia’s plastic pitch, from what I have seen England coming into a tournament without the inflated expectations created by a jingositic media could have won this thing, or at least gotten to their first tournament final since 1966.

    England is arguably the second most popular national team in the US behind Mexico and ahead of the US itself. If ESPN had thought England may miss the Euros, I hate to tell all of you but they never would have bid on the rights and we’d be stuck with PPV yet again.

    It’s really a pity because substitute out Croatia and put in England and you’d have had a 3-0 or 4-0 exciting win over the hosts and more interest here in the US.

    Without the Three Lions the tournament is destined to have subpar ratings and “I told you so” from the snobbish elite soccer hating crowd that dominates the American media especially in the northeast.

  20. eplnfl

    June 12, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Good point Hudsonland on the DVR. during the work week I’ve had to set my DVR. Also, some people have access to ESPN 360 which draws away a number of people. Overall the numbers seem to justify the commitment to the games.

    Also we should mention the ESPN also re-airs some of the matches in the evenings. So, all in all good interest in the week day games. Love Tommy Smyth btw.

  21. brent

    June 12, 2008 at 12:46 am

    I like how the studio show has kind of become “Let’s All Talk Over Julie Foudy”. Seriously, though, three analysts are too many.

    I <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 the HD too.

  22. Pingback: EuroDose, June 11 ‘06 - Euro 2008

  23. Hudsonland

    June 11, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    ESPN is doing such a fantastic job I’m not even going to knock Smyth. And the HD is nothing short of beautiful.

    Can anyone confirm that these numbers do not include anyone watching the soccer fan’s greatest friend, the DVR? Or are they ‘same day + 24’ numbers?

  24. Robbo the Red

    June 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    ESPN made a smart move using quality broadcasters like Andy Gray and Robbie Mustoe, they fully understand the game having played at a high level, unlike the Irish “Pub-Team” player Tommy Smyth…what a joke, he should be covering the basket-weaving finals! Oh, Julie Foudy does a good job too.

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