LARGE U.S. AUDIENCE INCREASES FOR EUROPEAN SOCCER MATCHES
By Douglas Pucci
The semifinal soccer matches of UEFA EURO 2012 on ESPN Wednesday and Thursday was seen by an average of 1.907 million viewers - up 46 percent compared to the average viewership of the two semifinals in 2008 (1.307 million), according to Nielsen.
On Wednesday, June 27, the semifinal match between Spain and Portugal, which was won by Spain 4-2 in a penalty shootout, drew ESPN’s largest audience ever in the semifinals of the European Football Championship - a 0.7 US rating and 1.952 million viewers.
Italy’s 2-1 victory over Germany on Thursday, June 28 attracted an audience of 1.851 million viewers.
Through 30 matches of UEFA EURO 2012, which includes the group stage, quarterfinals and semifinals, ESPN is averaging 932,000 households and 1.202 million viewers — up 60 percent and 61 percent, respectively, versus the same 30 matches in 2008 (582,000 households and 745,000 viewers).
The top 10 metered markets through the group stage:
1. New York (2.0)
2. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1.9)
3. Providence (1.6)
4. Los Angeles (1.4)
4. Washington, DC (1.4)
6. San Francisco (1.3)
6. Las Vegas (1.3)
8. Richmond, Va. (1.2)
8. Atlanta (1.2)
8. Austin, Texas (1.2)
On ESPN’s Spanish language sports network, ESPN Deportes, the aforementioned two semifinal matches drew an average of 586,000 viewers – an increase of a whopping 250 percent from 2008′s semifinals. According to Nielsen, the Spain-Portugal match delivered 650,000 viewers, making it this year’s most-watched telecast on ESPN Deportes to-date. The Italy-Germany semifinal attracted 510,000 viewers.