ESPN XP World Cup Dispatch #4 (Through 7/4/2010)

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ESPN XP World Cup Dispatch #4 (Through 7/4/2010)

World Cup on ESPN Delivers Young, Upscale Audience

ESPN Research+Analytics, working with data from Knowledge Networks, reports that after 24 days of World Cup coverage, the ESPN TV networks continue to show double-digit growth across the board compared to the 2006 World Cup.  Despite Team USA’s exit in the Round of 16, interest in the World Cup remains strong.  The four Quarterfinal games on July 2 and 3 averaged 4,274,869 viewers on ESPN/ABC, up 24% from 2006.  Through Saturday, July 3 (60 games), the 2010 World Cup is averaging a 1.9 HH US rating — up 39% from 2006 (1.4).  Household impressions are up 45% and P2+ impressions are up 50%.

Additionally, research has shown that the World Cup on ESPN delivers a young, upscale audience – with a median income of $78,000 and a median age of 37.  This is much younger and more affluent than the average TV viewer (median age 45, median income $48,000 in May 2010) and also younger and more upscale than the average event on ESPN (median age 44, median income $63,000 in 2009).

ESPN’s digital platforms have also maintained their strong performance despite the exit of the U.S. team.  The Uruguay vs. Ghana and Netherlands vs. Brazil matches on July 2 ranked as the fifth and seventh most viewed events ever on, respectively, based on average minute audience.  Furthermore, more than 1 million hours of World Cup usage was generated on that day, making it the third highest usage day thus far through the tournament.

Working with data from Knowledge Networks and Nielsen, ESPN estimates that 132 million persons aged 2+ have consumed World Cup content across all ESPN platforms — that’s more than two out of five Americans.  In addition, analysis of daily video usage found that persons who watched on TV and one of our other video platforms (Internet, Mobile) spent the most time watching TV and also the most total time with video – a great illustration of the principle that “Cross-Media Usage is Not Zero-Sum,” since the usage of Internet or Mobile video is not taking away from TV viewing, but is actually adding to total video consumption. (Source:  Knowledge Networks Total Touch product)

Digital Media Details

  • World Cup content on (includes ESPN Soccernet and ESPN Deportes/copa-mundial) delivered 111.5 million visits and 381.9 million page views from 6/11-7/4.
  • Users have spent an average of just under 10 minutes per visit engaging with World Cup content.
  •’s front page, which prominently features World Cup news, video and scores, has seen 233.6 million visits and 508.4 million page views for 6/11-7/4.
  • 47.9 million video starts came from World Cup highlights, news and analysis content on

ESPN Mobile

  • The ESPN World Cup App has been downloaded nearly 2.5 million times and has averaged more than 1.1 million unique devices accessing the app per day across the tournament.
  • ESPN’s World Cup App has generated 3.9 million video views to date for World Cup highlights, news and analysis content.
  • ESPN’s mobile offerings (ESPN Mobile Web, ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup App, ESPN ScoreCenter App) registered 87.4 million visits and 468.1 million page views to World Cup content.

  • Live and replay World Cup matches have been viewed by 6.7 million unique viewers, generating 844.7 million minutes of viewing (over two hours per viewer).

Source: Omniture

Cross-Platform Details

  • Beyond the Nielsen ratings:  According to Knowledge Networks, out-of-home viewing and usage of non-TV platforms adds 45% to the daily World Cup TV average audience.
  • 91% of people who consume World Cup content each day watch on TV, 27% use the Internet, 11% listen to Radio, 6% use mobile and 2% read ESPN the Magazine.
  • Looking at these figures in a different way, 64% of ESPN/ABC’s daily World Cup audience watches only on television, 27% are exposed on TV and some other platform, and 9% consume the World Cup solely on some platform other than television, an incremental audience lift over the TV audience of 10%.
  • Multiplatform consumers account for 27% of the users but represent 48% of the usage of World Cup content on the average day. This is because the multiplatform user is a heavier user, spending an average 3 hours 38 minutes consuming World Cup content compared to 1 hour 27 minutes for the TV-only viewer.
  • Using the Knowledge Networks Total Touch product, ESPN examined persons who consumed one of three video platforms (TV, Internet, Mobile) on the average day from June 11-July 4.
    • 82% of these persons only watched on TV, 14% watched TV and also Internet or Mobile video, and 5% only used Internet or Mobile video.
    • The TV+Other viewers were above-average consumers of video.  While they represented 14% of the users of video, they accounted for 26% of the usage.
    • The TV+Other group spent more time watching TV than the TV-only group (171 minutes vs 98 minutes) and spent more total time with video (221 minutes) than the TV-only group (98 minutes) or the Internet/Mobile-only group (82 minutes).


ESPN XP is a research initiative unprecedented in scope, to study consumer behavior around major sporting events beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The research collective, which includes 15 top-tier companies as well as the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative, will attempt to measure media usage and advertiser effects across all media platforms – TV, radio, Internet, mobile and print.  ESPN will be releasing ESPN XP findings from the 2010 FIFA World Cup throughout the month long tournament (June 11-July 11).  Comprehensive ESPN XP World Cup findings will be shared after the conclusion of the event.

Amy Phillips

My responsibilities in the communications group are largely of the Corporate Communications variety. A Midwesterner at heart and a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I am grateful every day to call New York City home. An alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross, I hold out irrational hope that one day the school will recoup some of its former mid-century sports prowess.
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