ESPN continues to score big with its FIFA World Cup action, with ratings and viewership both soaring. The network said its audience for the U.S.-Algeria game, in which the U.S. scored a winning goal in extra time, was the highest-rated and most-watched soccer game in the history of the network. It scored a 4.6 rating, and was the highest rated program of the day among males 18-34 and males 18-49. The network paid $100 million for broadcasting rights to this and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Since the tournament kicked off June 11 through June 18, 3.4 million unique viewers have visited its ESPN3 website.
FIFA, meanwhile, says the overall viewership for the tournament has exceeded expectations around the world, as well as in the United States, adding that viewership has expanded dramatically on mobile devices and PCs during this World Cup.
FIFA.com, Variety reports, saw a record 53 million unique viewers and 1.6 billion page views. The organization is pushing mobile hard, using a stand-alone production team of 60 people and tighter camera angles to make it more mobile friendly. And, FIFA said it expects the 2014 World Cup to be a watershed for the event, with mobile at the center of its presentation.
FIFA also said that it hasn't seen digital cannibalize the event's traditional TV audience.
"These offerings complement each other and allow us to keep in contact with viewers wherever they are," said Thierry Espalioux, director of content for eTF1, the Gallic commercial network's digital division. "People will often check out the website or their mobiles while watching the game on TV to see stats, interact with other viewers, read analysis and look at replays."
Plans, and expectations, already are beginning to build for the 2014 World Cup. A study from ESPN and the Interactive Advertising Bureau in the United Kingdom found that 58 percent of viewers expect to watch that tournament in 3D, with half of all 14-34s planning to watch it online and some 20 percent saying they'll watch games on an iPad.
World Cup to provide kick for 3D TV market
Comcast says it'll carry 3D World Cup matches
ESPN puts fiber network to test for World Cup
ITV gets kick out of World Cup combo with interactive stream
U-verse subscribers get ESPN 3D in time for World Cup