World Cup Setting Ratings Records for ESPN and Univision
The World Cup in Brazil has been ratings gold for TV networks, setting new audience records for ESPN and Univision -- and giving victories to Univision for many top matches.
The U.S. team's surprise 2-1 win over World Cup nemesis Ghana on Monday became the most-viewed men's soccer match in ESPN's history, averaging 11.1 million viewers on the channel, according to the network.
It also brought in WatchESPN's largest audience to date, with a total of 1.4 million viewers streaming the game live. And the match between Germany and Portugal delivered WatchESPN's second-best audience yet, with 1.1 million viewers.
The tournament as a whole is also proving a stronger draw than four years ago, both on TV and online, where numbers were expected to grow significantly because streaming was in its infancy during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The first 20 matches of the World Cup drew an average of 3.8 million viewers for ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combined, up 31% from 2010.
The WatchESPN app averaged 780,000 live unique viewers over the first 20 matches, up 152% from the first 20 matches in 2010, ESPN said. Live minutes watched increased 151% to 33.9 million, while minutes per viewer grew 4% to 43.
At Univision Deportes, the first 20 matches have averaged 3.6 million viewers, a 43% surge from 2010. The network achieved 238,000 concurrent live streams during the same period, up 262%. The first seven days of the World Cup were the most visited days for Univision's digital properties in the company's history, the company said.
Univision out-delivered ESPN in total audience for four of the five most-viewed matches. An average of 6.8 million people watched Mexico hold Brazil to a 0-0 tie on Univision, for example, compared with 4.2 million on ESPN.
That same match was streamed by 1.6 million people through Univision's digital properties, beating ESPN's live stream of USA vs. Ghana.
Univision's airing of Mexico vs. Brazil also topped all five NHL Stanley Cup finals games on NBC and NBCSN in the 18-to-49 demographic, according to Univision.
The U.S. team plays its second match on Sunday, facing off against Portugal.