ABC, Univision see World Cup jump
ABC’s broadcast of three matches in the 2006 FIFA World Cup opening weekend from Germany delivered an average 2.8 rating based on overnight ratings in the metered markets. This is 65% higher than the 1.7 average rating for the network’s two matches in the opening weekend of the 2002 World Cup.
Saturday’s 9 a.m. ET broadcast of the England vs. Paraguay match posted a 2.7 overnight rating, 93% higher than a 1.4 rating in 2002, the network’s first 2002 World Cup match on Saturday, June 1 — Ireland vs. Cameroon.
Sunday’s 11:30 a.m. broadcast of Mexico’s 3-1 win over Iran earned a 2.7 rating, 42% higher than the 1.9 rating for a comparable 2002 World Cup first-round match – Sweden vs. England — Sunday, June 2.
Saturday’s scoreless Trinidad & Tobago vs. Sweden match at 12 noon delivered a 2.9 rating (There was no other match from Saturday in the 2002 World Cup opening weekend for comparison).
Univision also did well, with the match between Mexico and Iran drawing the largest Spanish-language audience ever for a sports event. According to Nielsen’s NTI Fast National Ratings, the first 8 games have averaged 2.6 million Persons 2+ which is 1.7 million more than the average of the first 8 games of the 2002 World Cup tournament in Korea/Japan, or nearly 3 times the audience. Additionally, Adults 18-49 averaged 1.7 million viewers per game, also nearly tripling the audience. Even more dramatic growth was seen among Teens 12-17 and Kids 2-11 with nearly 5 times and more than 3 times the audience in these demographics respectively.
Highlighting the extraordinary devotion of Hispanic soccer fans in this country, Sunday’s match-up between Mexico and Iran, which resulted in a Mexican victory, also scored an impressive 5.4 million average audience of Persons 2+ making it the most-watched sporting event in Spanish-language television history, beating even previous World Cup final matches.