ESPN XP World Cup Dispatch #5 – Ten Things ESPN Learned During the World Cup

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ESPN XP World Cup Dispatch #5 – Ten Things ESPN Learned During the World Cup

PLEASE NOTE: Data from ESPN XP’s 15 data suppliers continues to be gathered and analyzed for a comprehensive report to be presented to the industry in the Fall of 2010.  The final ESPN XP report will measure media usage and advertiser effects across all media platforms – TV, radio, Internet, mobile and print.

 1. 160.5 million persons aged 2+ consumed World Cup content across ESPN platforms — 55% of all Americans. 

  • Using Nielsen TV Reach and Knowledge Networks’ Total Touch, ESPN has been able to estimate the total number of persons who were exposed to ESPN World Cup content over all five platforms (TV, Radio, Internet, Mobile, Magazine)

 2. Putting World Cup content on all platforms proved successful: on the average day 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.

 3. Since 90% of daily users watched on TV, if follows that 10% of persons consuming ESPN World Cup content did so solely on some platform other than television, an incremental audience lift over our TV Reach each day of 11.3%.

 4. A major focus of the ESPN XP initiative was the sports fan with cross-platform usage.  On the average day, 26% of persons who used World Cup content on ESPN were multiplatform consumers (TV and some other platform).

 5. Multiplatform consumers accounted for 26% of the users but represented 47% of the usage of World Cup content on the average day.

 6. The multiplatform user was a heavier user, spending an average 3 hours 29 minutes consuming World Cup content — 2 hours 24 minutes of that watching on TV, compared to 1 hour 24 minutes for the TV-only viewer.

  • The more platforms used, the more time spent with content.  In fact, the one percent who consumed the World Cup on all five platforms — TV, Internet, Mobile, Radio and Magazine — averaged 7 hours 35 minutes of World Cup usage per day.

 7. Multiplatform consumers were more likely to be younger and male.

  • Compared to the 26% of daily persons who were multiplatform consumers and 10% who were non-TV consumers, Males were more likely to be multiplatform users (30%) and non-TV users (11%).
  • Younger persons were more likely to be consumers of platforms other than TV.  Among persons aged 21-34, 35% were multiplatform consumers and 13% were non-TV consumers, while among the oldest group (persons 50-64), just 14% were multiplatform consumers and 5% were non-TV consumers.

 8. Beyond the Nielsen ratings:  According to Knowledge Networks, out-of-home viewing and usage of non-TV platforms added 46% to daily World Cup TV average audience.

  • Out-of-home TV viewing would lift TV ratings by 14%, and use of non-TV platforms would have added another 32%.
  • The 2010 World Cup ranks as the ESPN networks’ most-watched World Cup ever.  ESPN TV networks delivered more than 3.2 million average viewers per live game, an increase of 41% over the 2006 World Cup. 
  • The 3.2 million average viewers become 4.7 million average consumers when out-of-home TV viewing and usage of other platforms is included.
  • Generally speaking, the lower the in-home TV viewing as measured by Nielsen, the greater the lift from out-of-home viewing and usage of other platforms.  For the last day of match play for Group B (Tuesday June 22) the lift was 235%.
  • ABC’s coverage of the 2010 Final (Netherlands/Spain) had an average audience of 15,544,517 viewers making it the most-watched Men’s World Cup telecast ever.  We estimate the out-of-home/Non-TV lift at 17%, making our total average audience 18.1 million.

9. World Cup consumers showed different patterns of use across the country.

  • Highest Rated Markets Included Miami, New York, Washington D.C., San Diego and San Francisco
  • West coast TV viewers had nearly twice as much time-shifted viewing as viewers 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.
  • These patterns make total sense: 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.  Usage 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.

10. 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.
  • Internet and Mobile were in the second tier, with over a quarter of usage of each done out-of-home.
  • The platforms with the biggest percent of in-home usage were TV (88%) and Magazine (81%).
  • Locations of out-of-home usage differed widely by platform.  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 done out of home, the locations of Mobile use were different.  47% of this usage was done at work, but 29% was done in a bar, restaurant or car, compared to just 9% for the Internet.
  • Naturally, over half of radio listening was done in the car, but over a third was done at work.


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 has been releasing ESPN XP findings from the 2010 FIFA World Cup throughout the month-long tournament.  Comprehensive ESPN XP World Cup findings will be shared after the conclusion of the event.

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