News

Net Gains for ‘Fútbol Everywhere’

6/21/2010 2:32 PM Eastern

ESPN says its multiplatform
strategy around the 2010
FIFA World Cup has built audiences
across the screens.

The sports programmer said
those who viewed the tournament’s
matches on ESPN or ABC
and also engaged with Internet,
mobile, radio or magazine
content during the first three
days spent at least three hours
more daily than those who only
watched on TV.

According to ESPN XP, a new
research project that aims to analyze
media usage across all outlets,
fans involved with TV plus
three out of the four additional
platforms averaged 5 hours, 6 minutes
per day with World Cup content
from the tournament’s kickoff
on June 11 through June 13.

That’s compared with 1 hour,
34 minutes for those who only
watched the matches on ESPN or
ABC alone.

“I think to the extent that fans
have more options to tune in and
more people get excited about it,
that’s a good thing,” ESPN executive
vice president John Skipper,
who was in South Africa for
the tourney, said on a call with reporters
last week.

On ESPN3.com, which is available
to about 50 million U.S.
broadband homes through affiliate deals with service providers,
almost 1.3 million viewers
watched live and encore World
Cup matches over the first three
days of the tournament, resulting
in 73.6 million minutes of viewing
— almost an hour per viewer.

The number of minutes viewed
in the opening three days was almost
as many as ESPN3.com
had for the entire month of June
2009.

According to ESPN XP data, almost
two-thirds (65%) of the total
World Cup audience only engaged
with FIFA’s famed fútbol tourney
through ESPN or ABC. About 24%
were exposed via TV and some
other platform, while 11% consumed
the World Cup solely on
some platform other than TV, an
incremental audience lift of 13%,
according to ESPN.

Of all those who consumed
any ESPN/ABC World Cup content,
89% used TV; 31%, the Internet;
8%, radio; and 6%, mobile
devices.

From a Nielsen perspective,
ESPN and ABC netted an 80%
audience increase during match
coverage of the 2010 event’s first
three days compared with the
similar span during the 2006
World Cup in Germany.

Through the first eight matches
from June 11 to 13, the two Walt
Disney Co. networks averaged 3
million households and nearly 4.25
million viewers, gains of 75% and
80%, respectively, versus the 2006
World Cup, according to Nielsen
data. The ratings and viewership
numbers are based on the twohour
match windows and exclude
the half-hour pre-match studio
coverage.

American fans tuned in and
logged on in bigger numbers despite
a dearth of balls hitting the
back of the net: Just 13 goals were
scored in the first eight matches.

The Nielsen results received a
significant boost from ABC’s June
12 telecast of the U.S.-England
draw, which scored with a 7.3 national
rating and just under 13
million viewers, the most for a
men’s national team match since
1994.

ESPN XP, kicking off with the
2010 World Cup, synthesizes research
from 15 companies, including
Nielsen, as well as the
Wharton School’s Interactive Media
Initiative, to gauge media usage
and advertising effectiveness
across all media platforms.

September