World Cup Ratings Double on ESPN2, Triple on Univision

by Carolyn Braff

In its first eight televised matches of the 2006 World Cup, ESPN2 averaged a 1.5 rating (1.3 million homes), representing a 200 percent increase over the 0.5 rating produced for equivalent coverage of the 2002 World Cup.

The June 12 telecast of the United States opening match against the Czech Republic was the most watched and highest rated soccer telecast in the history of the network, earning ESPN2 a 2.4 rating and 2.1 million homes. The match also gave ESPN2 its most watched and viewed telecast of all programming in 2006.

The Spanish-language Univision network boasts even more impressive numbers. Through its first eight telecasts of World Cup games, Univision averaged 2.6 million viewers per telecast, which is 1.7 million more than its average for the opening eight matches of the 2002 World Cup. Compared to telecasts from four years ago, viewership in the 18-49 year-old bracket has nearly tripled to 1.7 million viewers per game,, and among teens ages 12-17, viewership has multiplied neraly five fold.
The June 11 match between Mexico and Iran claimed an audience of 5.4 million viewers for Univision, thereby making it the most watched sporting event in the history of Spanish-language television.