2014 FIFA World Cup Ratings Wrap-Up

Here are the numbers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in English and Spanish as far as I can determine given the severe constraints I had to work with. I complained last year about SportsBusiness Daily mysteriously completely dropping Univision’s numbers for the FIFA Confederations Cup, but this year the problem was much worse, because it’s the World Cup it dropped, including many of the most popular matches in the history of American Spanish-language television. Here’s hoping this madness ends with Telemundo taking over the World Cup. At least I managed to get enough numbers for the knockout stages that I’m fairly confident I have data for every knockout stage match over 3 million on Univision, but the group stage, especially the later part of the group stage, is more problematic; I have to assume I have every match with an audience over 5 million, but that might be a dicey proposition. Even the matches I do have I don’t have anything beyond the ten-thousands place, and I only have that much because of Sports Media Watch’s year-end ratings wrapup and doing the math based on the ESPN match-portion numbers.

Oh yes, that. ESPN wanted any mention of records or the actual ratings each match received to refer to the “match portion” of each window starting at the top of the hour, excluding the 30-minute pregame show, which SportsBusiness Daily and Sports Media Watch obliged them, but the official time slots according to Nielsen, which are thus more widely available from sites like Awful Announcing or TVbytheNumbers, include the pregame show, which could be as long as an hour if the United States was playing. To make matters worse, ESPN’s press releases tended to put out those match-portion numbers based on the fast nationals I don’t trust, which SMW ended up going with. So I had to hope each match finished in the top ten sports events on cable for the week to show up on SBD, and if it didn’t, hope ESPN reported numbers in its press releases or SMW found them out in other ways, or be stuck with the full-window numbers. And because the World Cup coincided with Douglas “Son of the Bronx” Pucci’s early days at Awful Announcing, when he was just posting top tens for each network with anything else being by request only, if a match was particularly lightly viewed I couldn’t even count on that.

Numbers for matches on ABC, as well as most ESPN match portions not marked as being fast nationals, from SportsBusiness Daily or Sports Media Watch. Other ESPN match portions from ESPN press releases. Numbers for ESPN full windows from Awful Announcing (household ratings) and TVbytheNumbers (18-49 ratings). Numbers in Spanish from Univision press releases and Sports Media Watch.

Top 15 Most-Viewed Matches of the 2014 World Cup Regardless of Language

 

  Vwr (mil) 18-49 Time Net

1

FIFA World Cup Final:
Germany v. Argentina

26.5

 

7/13 3:00 PM

ABC+
Univ.

2

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Portugal

24.76

9.9

6/22 6:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

3

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
United States v. Belgium

21.57

7.5

7/1 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

4

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Netherlands v. Mexico

16.96

 

6/29 12:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

5

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Ghana v. United States

15.94

 

6/16 6:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

6

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Germany

14.16

 

6/26 12:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

7

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Brazil v. Germany

12.4

 

7/8 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

8

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Netherlands v. Argentina

12.2

 

7/9 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

9

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Brazil v. Colombia

11.84

 

7/4 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

10

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Brazil v. Mexico

11.08

 

6/17 3:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

11

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Netherlands v. Costa Rica

10.92

 

7/5 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

12

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Costa Rica v. Greece

10.78

 

 6/29 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

13

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Brazil v. Chile

10.71

 

June 28

ABC+
Univ.

14

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Croatia v. Mexico

9.64

 

6/23 4:00 PM

ESPN+
Univ.

15

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
France v. Germany

9.6

 

7/4 12:00 PM

ESPN2+
Univ.

Top 10 Most-Viewed English-Language Matches

 

  Vwr (mil) HH 18-49 Time Net

1

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Portugal

18.22

9.6

7.1

6/22 6:00 PM

ESPN

2

FIFA World Cup Final
Germany v. Argentina

17.324

9.1

10.3

7/13 3:00 PM

ABC

3

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
United States v. Belgium

16.491

9.8

 

7/1 4:00 PM

ESPN

4

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Ghana v. United States

11.093

6.3

 

6/16 6:00 PM

ESPN

5

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Germany

10.711

6.7

 

6/26 12:00 PM

ESPN

6

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Netherlands v. Argentina

6.823

4.3

 

7/9 4:00 PM

ESPN

7

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Brazil v. Germany

6.643

4.2

 

7/8 4:00 PM

ESPN

8

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Netherlands v. Mexico

6.571

4

 

6/29 12:00 PM

ESPN

9

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Costa Rica v. Greece

6.388

3.9

 

6/29 4:00 PM

ESPN

10

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Brazil v. Colombia

6.349

3.6

 

7/4 4:00 PM

ESPN

The most-watched group stage match in English not to involve the United States was Germany-Ghana on June 21, which had 5.735 million viewers. The most-viewed group stage match in English outside Group G was Algeria-South Korea on June 22, which had 5.261 million viewers on ABC. The most-watched non-Group G group stage match in English on ESPN or ESPN2 was Argentina-Bosnia-Herzegovina, with 4.677 million viewers on June 15.

Top 10 Most-Viewed Spanish-Language Matches (all matches on Univision and Univision Deportes)

 

  Vwr (mil) 18-49 Time

1

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Netherlands v. Mexico

10.39

 

6/29 12:00 PM

2

FIFA World Cup Final:
Germany v. Argentina

9.2

 

7/13 3:00 PM

3

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Croatia v. Mexico

7.1

 

6/23 4:00 PM

4

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Brazil v. Mexico

6.84

3.5?

6/17 3:00 PM

5

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Portugal

6.54

2.8

6/22 6:00 PM

6

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Brazil v. Germany

5.8

 

7/8 4:00 PM

7

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Brazil v. Colombia

5.49

 

7/4 4:00 PM

8

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Netherlands v. Argentina

5.4

 

7/9 4:00 PM

9

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Netherlands v. Costa Rica (estimated)

5.13

 

7/5 4:00 PM

10

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Brazil v. Croatia

5.1

 

6/12 4:00 PM

The most-watched group stage match in Spanish outside Groups A and G was probably Argentina v. Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 15, with 4.91 million viewers, for a total of 9.59 million viewers, the 16th most-watched match regardless of language. Outside the final, the most-watched knockout stage match not involving Brazil or the Netherlands was USA-Belgium on July 1 with 5.08 million viewers, followed by France-Germany July 4 with 4.71 million viewers.

Numbers for All Full Windows Where Numbers are Available on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2

Note that ABC numbers are for the match portion because that’s what SportsBusiness Daily reported (except Argentina-Belgium), as is the Spain-Netherlands match on the second day of the World Cup, which was squeezed onto ESPN while NBC took over the US Open golf tournament.

 

  Vwr (mil) HH 18-49 Time Net

1

FIFA World Cup Final:
Germany v. Argentina

17.324

9.1

10.3

7/13 3:00 PM

ABC

2

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Portugal

13.774

7.3

5.4

6/22 5:00 PM

ESPN

3

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
United States v. Belgium

13.44

8.1

5.6

7/1 3:00 PM

ESPN

4

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Ghana v. United States

9.722

5.6

4.1

6/16 5:30 PM

ESPN

5

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
United States v. Germany

8.239

5.2

3

6/26 11:00 AM

ESPN

6

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Brazil v. Chile

6.142

3.8

 

June 28

ABC

7

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Costa Rica v. Greece

5.896

3.6

2.5

6/29 3:30 PM

ESPN

8

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Netherlands v. Mexico

5.743

3.6

2.4

6/29 11:30 AM

ESPN

9

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Brazil v. Colombia

5.683

3.2

2.2

7/4 3:30 PM

ESPN

10

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Netherlands v. Argentina

5.513

3.5

2

7/9 3:00 PM

ESPN

11

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Colombia v. Uruguay

5.362

3.3

 

June 28

ABC

12

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Germany v. Ghana

5.281

3.2

2.3

6/21 2:30 PM

ESPN

13

FIFA World Cup: Algeria v. South Korea

5.261

3.2

 

6/22 3:00 PM

ABC

14

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Netherlands v. Costa Rica

5.26

3.1

0.2

7/5 3:30 PM

ESPN

15

FIFA World Cup Semifinals:
Brazil v. Germany

5.112

3.2

1.9

7/8 3:00 PM

ESPN

16

FIFA World Cup: France v. Honduras

4.597

2.7

 

6/15 3:00 PM

ABC

17

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
Argentina v. Belgium

4.588

 

1.7

7/5 11:30 AM

ABC

18

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Germany v. Algeria

4.306

2.9

1.7

6/30 3:30 PM

ESPN

19

FIFA World Cup, Group H:
Belgium v. Russia

4.302

2.8

 

6/22 12:00 PM

ABC

20

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals:
France v. Germany

4.233

2.5

1.8

7/4 11:30 PM

ESPN2

21

FIFA World Cup Third Place Match:
Brazil v. Netherlands

4.215

2.5

 

7/12 3:30 PM

ESPN

22

FIFA World Cup, Group F:
Argentina v. Bosnia-Herzegovina (FW)

4.204

2.3

1.9

6/15 5:30 PM

ESPN

23

FIFA World Cup: England v. Italy (FW)

4.114

2.4

1.8

6/14 5:30 PM

ESPN

24

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Brazil v. Croatia

4.04

2.5

1.7

6/12 3:30 PM

ESPN

25

FIFA World Cup: Switzerland v. Ecuador

4.007

2.4

 

6/15 12:00 PM

ABC

26

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Brazil v. Mexico

3.847

2.4

1.5

6/17 2:30 PM

ESPN

27

FIFA World Cup, Group F:
Nigeria v. Bosnia-Herzegovina (FW)

3.836

2.3

1.7

6/21 5:30 PM

ESPN

28

FIFA World Cup: Uruguay v. Costa Rica

3.805

2.4

 

6/14 3:00 PM

ABC

29

FIFA World Cup, Group F:
Argentina v. Iran

3.555

2.3

1.5

6/21 11:30 AM

ESPN

30

FIFA World Cup: Colombia v. Greece

3.478

2.3

 

6/14 12:00 PM

ABC

31

FIFA World Cup:
Ivory Coast v. Japan

3.445

2.1

1.4

6/14 8:30 PM

ESPN

32

FIFA World Cup, Group H:
Russia v. Korea

3.259

2.1

1.4

6/17 5:30 PM

ESPN

33

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Spain v. Chile

3.191

2.1

1.3

6/18 2:30 PM

ESPN

34

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
Argentina v. Switzerland

3.173

2.2

1.2

7/1 11:30 AM

ESPN

35

FIFA World Cup:
Japan v. Greece

3.169

2.0

1.3

6/19 5:30 PM

ESPN

36

FIFA World Cup:
Uruguay v. England

3.139

 

1.2

6/19 2:30 PM

ESPN

37

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Spain v. Netherlands

3.103

2.0

1.4

6/13 3:00 PM

ESPN

38

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Cameroon v. Croatia

3.036

 

1.3

6/18 5:30 PM

ESPN

39

FIFA World Cup:
Honduras v. Ecuador

2.928

 

1.3

6/20 5:30 PM

ESPN

40

FIFA World Cup:
Switzerland v. France

2.872

 

1.2

6/20 2:30 PM

ESPN

41

FIFA World Cup Octofinals:
France v. Nigeria

2.527

1.7

1

6/30 11:30 AM

ESPN

42

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Chile v. Australia

2.526

1.6

1.3

6/13 5:30 PM

ESPN2

43

FIFA World Cup:
Italy v. Costa Rica

2.43

 

1

6/20 11:30 AM

ESPN

44

FIFA World Cup: Ecuador v. France

2.425

1.6

0.9

6/25 3:30 PM

ESPN

45

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Germany v. Portugal

2.372

 

1

6/16 11:30 AM

ESPN

46

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Croatia v. Mexico

2.294

 

0.9

6/23 3:30 PM

ESPN

47

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Australia v. Netherlands

2.293

 

0.9

6/18 11:30 PM

ESPN

48

FIFA World Cup, Group F:
Iran v. Nigeria

2.255

 

0.9

6/16 2:30 PM

ESPN

49

FIFA World Cup, Group H:
South Korea v. Belgium

2.056

 

0.9

6/26 3:30 PM

ESPN

50

FIFA World Cup: Nigeria v. Argentina

2.034

 

0.8

6/25 11:30 AM

ESPN

51

FIFA World Cup: Uruguay v. Italy

1.962

 

0.8

June 24 ESPN

52

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Mexico v. Cameroon

1.889

1.3

0.9

6/13 11:30 AM

ESPN2

53

FIFA World Cup: Japan v. Colombia

1.804

 

0.7

June 24 ESPN

54

FIFA World Cup:
Colombia v. Ivory Coast

1.784

 

0.7

6/19 11:30 AM

ESPN

55

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Netherlands v. Chile

1.649

 

0.7

6/23 11:30 AM

ESPN

56

FIFA World Cup, Group H:
Belgium v. Algeria

1.613

 

0.7

6/17 11:30 AM

ESPN

57

FIFA World Cup, Group A:
Cameroon v. Brazil

1.164

0.8

0.5

6/23 3:30 PM

ESPN2

58

FIFA World Cup: Greece v. Ivory Coast

1.114

0.7

0.5

6/24 3:30 PM

ESPN2

59

FIFA World Cup, Group H:
Algeria v. Russia

0.71

0.5

 

6/26 3:30 PM

ESPN2

60

FIFA World Cup: Costa Rica v. England

0.675

0.5

 

6/24 11:30 AM

ESPN2

61

FIFA World Cup, Group B:
Australia v. Spain

0.545

0.4

 

6/23 11:30 AM

ESPN2

62

FIFA World Cup, Group G:
Portugal v. Ghana

0.533

0.4

 

6/26 11:30 AM

ESPN2

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