ESPN XP Report: Out-of-Home, Multiplatform Consumers Boost ESPN World Cup Audience to 4.7 Million

ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was an unquestionable hit among U.S. viewers, averaging 3.261 million viewers per match on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC and finishing as the most-viewed World Cup on English-language TV ever. However, when out-of-home TV viewing and use of other platforms are included, the average consumption skyrockets to 4.7 million, according to a new report from ESPN’s new research initiative, ESPN XP.

Factoring in Out-of-Home, Non-TV Viewers
The report states that out-of-home viewing and use of non-TV platforms added 46% to the daily World Cup average TV audience. Out-of-home TV viewing would lift TV ratings by 14%, and use of non-TV platforms would have added another 32%. ABC’s coverage of the Netherlands-Spain final attracted an average audience of 15.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Men’s World Cup telecast ever. That number jumps to 18.1 million when a 17% boost from out-of-home/non-TV viewers is factored in.

ESPN estimates that 55% of all Americans, or 160.5 million total viewers, consumed World Cup content across ESPN platforms (TV, radio, Internet, mobile, magazine).

When broken down by platform, 90% of users watched ESPN content on TV, 27% used the Internet, 11% listened to radio, 6% used mobile, and 2% read ESPN the Magazine.

Males, Young Viewers Stray To Multiple Platforms
On the average day, 26% of consumers who watched World Cup content on ESPN were multiplatform consumers (TV and some other platform). Although these consumers accounted for 26% of total users, they represented 47% of the total use of World Cup content.

This group was also made up of heavier users, spending an average 3 hours 29 minutes consuming World Cup content and 2 hours 24 minutes of that watching on TV, compared with 1 hour 24 minutes for the TV-only viewer.

Multiplatform consumers were more likely to be younger and male. About 30% of males and 35% of people 21-34 were multiplatform users (vs. 26% of users on average). Among the oldest group (persons 50-64), just 14% were multiplatform consumers.

Trends Across the Country
World Cup consumers showed different patterns of use across the country. The markets logging the highest ratings were Miami, New York, Washington, San Diego, and San Francisco

West Coast TV viewers had nearly twice as much time-shifted viewing as those on the East Coast (12.5% vs. 6.4%). However, East Coast viewers were more likely to watch TV in out-of-home locations than West Coast viewers. This viewing would lift TV ratings by 11.6% on the West Coast but 16.6% on the East Coast.

Much of this is a result of the fact that East Coast viewers were at work when two of the three weekday matches were played and sought out-of-home alternatives, while West Coast viewers weren’t up when the matches started and had to time-shift them.

In addition, ESPN World Cup consumers on the West Coast were more likely to use non-TV platforms. Use of these media during dayparts when matches were aired would add 42% to the average audience on the West Coast and 29% on the East Coast.

Out-of-Home Numbers
Each platform had a different pattern of out-of-home usage. Radio had the greatest proportion of out-of-home usage, accounting for more than half (54%) of radio listening. More than a quarter of Internet and mobile usage was out-of-home. The platforms with the biggest percent of in-home usage were TV (88%) and magazine (81%).

As a whole, 41% of ESPN World Cup out-of-home consumption was done at work, 18% in a bar or restaurant, 17% in a car, and 24% in other locations. Internet out-of-home consumption strongly favored usage at work (72%).

Although about the same proportion of Internet and mobile consumption was out-of-home, the locations of mobile use were different: 47% was done at work, and 29% was done in a bar, restaurant, or car, and just 9% on the Internet.

What is ESPN XP?
The 2010 FIFA World Cup marked the first outing for ESPN XP, a research initiative to study consumer behavior around major sporting events. The research collective, which comprises 15 companies as well as the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative, attempts to measure media usage and advertiser effects across all media platforms: TV, radio, Internet, mobile, and print. Data from ESPN XP’s 15 data suppliers continues to be gathered and analyzed for a final report to be presented this fall.