2014 World Cup Final on ABC: Most-Watched Men’s World Cup Championship Ever

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2014 World Cup Final on ABC: Most-Watched Men’s World Cup Championship Ever

  • Germany vs. Argentina: Averages 17,324,000 Viewers and 9.1 Rating; 1,800,000 Unique Viewers and 112,100,000 Minutes Viewed on WatchESPN
  • 2014 World Cup ESPN’s Most-Viewed and Highest-Rated Ever
  • Nine Most-Viewed World Cup Matches Ever on ESPN or ESPN2
  • 2014 Event Delivers Most Streamed Sporting Event Ever on WatchESPN
  • 36 of 56 Metered Markets Set Record Rating for a World Cup Match
  • ESPN Digital Delivers Record Usage for World Cup Content

Sunday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Final on ABC – a 1-0 victory in extra time over Argentina to secure Germany’s fourth World Cup title and first since 1990 – ranks as the most-watched Men’s World Cup Final match ever among viewers. Based on Nielsen fast nationals, the ABC telecast averaged 17,324,000 viewers and a 9.1 US HH rating for the game window (3-5:44 p.m. ET). It also ranks as the third most-viewed World Cup game – men’s or women’s – in the United States behind ESPN’s coverage of this year’s USA vs. Portugal match ever (18,220,000 viewers) and the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on ABC (USA vs. China with 17,975,000 viewers).

In addition to ABC’s telecast, the final match on WatchESPN generated 1,800,000 live unique viewers, 112,100,000 live minutes viewed and the highest time spent per viewer (63 minutes) of any match of the 2014 World Cup. Sunday’s final on WatchESPN provided a four percent lift to the English-language television viewership on ABC with an average minute audience of 657,000 viewers.

At its highest point, the ABC telecast averaged 20,781,000 viewers and an 11.0 US HH rating from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Top 10 markets for Sunday’s nearly four-hour telecast (including pre-match programming): Washington, D.C. (15.4), San Diego (13.4), Los Angeles (13.0), San Francisco (13.0), Orlando (12.6), New York (12.5), Sacramento (12.0), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (11.5), West Palm Beach (10.8) and Las Vegas (10.7).

ESPN’s coverage of the Brazil-Netherlands third place match on Saturday delivered 4,747,000 viewers and a 2.8 US HH rating. 

Most-Viewed and Highest-Rated World Cup Ever
The 2014 FIFA World Cup ranks as the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV in the United States. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combined to average 4,557,000 viewers and a 2.8 US household rating for the 64 matches, marking increases of 39 percent and 96 percent (vs. 3,273,000 in 2010 and 2,321,000 in 2006), and 33 percent and 75 percent (vs. 2.1 in 2010 and 1.6 in 2006), respectively. WatchESPN averaged 892,000 unique viewers and nearly 41 million total minutes per game for increases 174 percent and 173 percent, respectively, over the 2010 World Cup. WatchESPN had an average minute audience of 304,000 over the course of the tournament, providing a seven percent lift to English-language viewership.

“A fabulous World Cup and unparalleled content created by our cross platform teams in Brazil clearly captured the attention of fans,” said John Skipper, President ESPN, Inc. and Co-Chairman Disney Media Networks. “ESPN doubled U.S. viewership since the 2006 World Cup and we set industry records for live event streams. We’re proud of our role in helping to grow interest in the global game and our commitment to the sport remains strong.”

ESPN/ESPN2/ABC FIFA World Cup Ratings and Viewership (1994-2014):

Year / Host Nation(s) Match Telecasts US Rating Viewership
2014 Brazil 64 2.8 4,557,000
2010 South Africa 64 2.1 3,273,000
2006 Germany 64 1.6 2,321,000
2002 Korea/Japan 64 0.7 1,043,000
1998 France 64 0.9 1,222,000
1994 USA 52 2.0 2,801,000

Through all 64 matches, the top-10 markets include: Washington, D.C. (4.9), New York (4.6), San Francisco (4.4), Los Angeles (4.0), San Diego (4.0), Hartford-New Haven (3.9), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (3.8), Orlando (3.8) and (tied) West Palm Beach, Richmond, Baltimore and Boston (3.6).

Overall, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC television networks have combined to reach an estimated 115 million people through the semifinals (62 of 64 overall matches).

2014 World Cup Record Audiences
The 2014 World Cup delivered multiple national and market audience records for ESPN and ABC, including:

  • The nine most-viewed men’s World Cup matches ever on ESPN or ESPN2 and 10 of the top 20 when including telecasts that aired on ABC.
  • The most-viewed soccer game in the United States – men’s or women’s – ever for ESPN’s opening round telecast of USA vs. Portugal on June 22 (18,220,000 viewers and a 9.6 US HH rating).
  • The most streamed sporting event ever, with WatchESPN logging 43,300,000 hours (2.6 billion live minutes) of live match viewing for all 64 matches.
  • A record rating for at least one World Cup match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC in 36 of the 56 metered markets (in alphabetical order with the record rating): Albuquerque (9.0 rating), Atlanta (11.2), Baltimore (11.4), Birmingham (8.5), Boston (12.2), Buffalo (8.6), Columbus (12.6), Dayton (8.9), Denver (10.3), Detroit (8.3), Greensboro (9.2), Greenville (8.9), Hartford/New Haven (13.2), Houston (9.5), Indianapolis (9.5), Jacksonville (8.5), Kansas City (10.6), Los Angeles (13.0), Memphis (7.5), Nashville (9.1), New Orleans (8.7), New York (15.0), Norfolk (10.8), Oklahoma City (6.5), Orlando (12.6), Philadelphia (10.5), Pittsburgh (8.7), Providence (11.2), Raleigh-Durham (9.4), Richmond (12.3), Sacramento (12.0), San Antonio (10.6), St. Louis (8.7), Tampa/St. Petersburg (9.0), Washington, D.C., (15.4) and West Palm Beach (12.0). 

ESPN Digital Delivers Record Usage for World Cup Content
Also, throughout World Cup 2014, ESPN.com averaged nearly 13,000,000 daily unique visitors and 12,000,000 video starts per day, up 40 percent and 161 percent, respectively, over 2010. ESPN’s SportsCenter app averaged 3,600,000 million average daily unique visitors (up 409 percent from 2010), while the new ESPNFC.com averaged 5.1 million video starts per day (up 970% from 2010.)

Driven by World Cup content across all digital platforms, ESPN reached 80.7 million unique visitors in June, establishing a new sports category record, topping ESPN’s previous category high of 72.7 million in September 2013. (comScore Multi-platform Data) 

ESPNDeportes.com, ESPN’s Spanish-language digital destination in the U.S., scored high traffic during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, averaging 566,000 unique users every day for a 52 percent over 2010. The site also averaged 3,800,000 video starts per day (up 284 percent from 2010). Fans spent 37,500,000 minutes on the site throughout the tournament. 

In addition, an average of 121,000 users accessed ESPN Deportes via mobile every day in the same time period for a 171 percent increase year-over-year. Video starts on mobile averaged 1,900,000 per day (up 96 percent compared to last year). Users spent 31,600,000 minutes on the site.

During the month of June, both ESPNDeportes.com and ESPN Deportes mobile hit its highest month ever in average daily unique users. The site averaged 108,000 unique visitors per day – up 47 percent from June 2010- while ESPN Deportes mobile averaged 125,000 unique visitors per day. ESPN Deportes mobile also had its highest month for total minutes hitting 31,000,000 minutes, and video starts hit a record high of 5,800,000 video starts among all platforms. (source: Adobe/Omniture)


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