The 2014 FIFA World Cup has kicked off, and with it come questions about how soccer's biggest tournament will fare on television. Things have come a long way since SUM bought the World Cup rights and bundled them with an MLS TV deal. ESPN lost the rights recently to FOX, in the first real battle over soccer TV rights that the US had seen.
Overnights: In the country's biggest TV market -- NYC -- the World Cup (ESPN + Univision) posted the same 18 share as the NBA Finals.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 13, 2014
The World Cup pulled big numbers in New York yesterday: 5.1 rating/11 share on ESPN and a 3.0/7 on Univision.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 13, 2014
In the world of media ratings, conquer New York and Los Angeles and you've gone a long way toward a big success. In New York English media ESPN was able to pull a 5.1 rating and an 11 share, huge numbers for an afternoon kickoff and higher than the Spanish language compliment. Expect those figures to reverse when LA numbers are released, but to remain just as high combined.
A 52% increase over the 2010 opener when that opener featured Mexico is quite significant. Whether or not Univision will show a dip will be interesting. They haven't released overnights for the Brazil opener yet, but Mexico's opener this morning could be the bigger splash.
ESPN reporting a different overnight than the Sports Business Journal, with LA pulling just slightly better and Washington DC the top market. Markets 6-10 included San Francisco and soon to be MLS market Orlando.
Twitter also is coming out with crazy numbers. 12.2 million tweets were sent out during the match between Brazil and Croatia, while Neymar gained 165,000 followers and was the most talked about player. Here's a map showing the level of activity during different match events.
Update:Univision is reporting 5.1 million total viewers for yesterday's opener, so both ESPN and Univision had record breaking days.