BEAUTIFUL GAME GENERATES MASSIVE TV, ONLINE RATINGS
Jun 22, 2010
By Alex Strachan, Canwest News ServiceJune 15, 2010
The Beautiful Game may not have been so beautiful in some of the early World Cup matches, but that doesn't seem to have a significant impact on the TV and online live stream ratings.
Whether it's the historical setting - the 2010 World Cup is the first to be played on the continent of Africa, and marks the 15th anniversary of statehood for a free and democratic South Africa - television audiences are watching in record or near-record numbers.
More than two million Canadians watched last weekend's 1-1 draw between England and USA. According to CBC, that is the largest number of Canadians to watch a single game in the World Cup's preliminary round since the World Cup was first televised. Nearly one million saw host nation South Africa draw 1-1 with Mexico in the tournament opener.
Five of the eight opening-round matches topped a million viewers.
Interestingly, in what is being billed as the first "social media" World Cup, live games have also pulled in more than 750,000 live streams.
In the U.S. meanwhile, ABC and ESPN are averaging five million viewers a game, up more than 100 per cent over the 2006 World Cup. Incredibly, that England-USA game - the one which featured one of the biggest goalkeeping blunders in World Cup history - drew 13 million viewers, not including the four million who watched on Spanish-language Univision. That made England-USA the fifth most watched World Cup telecast in tournament history, behind three finals and the 1994 contest between the USA and Brazil.
ESPN executive vice-president John Skipper noted the network is racking up its best first-round numbers in 16 years.
The highest U.S. ratings, according to the Hollywood Reporter trade paper, are in San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.
They aren't wagering on the World Cup in Vegas, are they? In a sport where the result is often 1-1, it's probably wise to take the under, unless Germany is playing.
Here are some of the official weekend numbers, courtesy of CBC.
FRIDAY, JUNE 11
Opening Ceremony - 382,000
South Africa vs. Mexico - 906,000 average audience/269,127 total live streams (includes Opening Ceremony)
Uruguay vs. France - 1.010 million average audience/155,087 total live streams
SATURDAY, JUNE 12
Korea Republic vs. Greece - 605,000 average audience/40,790 total live streams
Argentina vs. Nigeria - 1.305 million average audience/62,072 total live streams
England vs. USA - 2.275 million average audience/86,711 total live streams
SUNDAY, JUNE 13
Algeria vs. Slovenia - 513,000 average audience/24,734 total live streams
Serbia vs. Ghana - 1.212 million average audience/43,376 total live streams
Germany vs. Australia - 1.660 million average audience/78,168 total live streams