By Paul Kennedy
Sunday's Euro 2012 quarterfinal between Italy and England drew the highest rating yet on ESPN: a 2.4 overnight rating. That's an increase of 50 percent from the Spain-Italy game at the same stage four years.
How does the Italy-England overnight rating compare? The rating for ESPN's New York Yankees-Mets game the same evening was only 2.7.
ESPN has enjoyed solid numbers through the tournament. Through the 24 matches in the group stage, ESPN’s live coverage averaged 1,002,000 viewers -- up 82 percent compared to the group stage matches in 2008.
The top 10 metered markets through the group stage include: New York (1.6), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1.6), Providence (1.3), Los Angeles (1.2), Washington, DC (1.2), Richmond, Va. (1.1), Atlanta (1.1), San Francisco (1.0), Jacksonville (1.0), and Austin, Texas (1.0).
EUROPEAN NUMBERS. In England, a peak audience of 23.2 million viewers -- 77 percent of people watching television -- watched BBC1's coverage of the Italy-England game that was decided in a shootout. It was the highest soccer rating for any British channel since Euro 2004. A peak of 12.6 million Spanish viewers watched Spain defeat France, 2-0, Saturday night on Telecinco. The audience share of 76.7 was just behind the 77.2 share for the 2010 World Cup final when Spain defeated the Netherlands in overtime. Germany’s ZDF viewing peaked at a 77.8 share for Germany's 4-2 win over Greece on Friday.
PORTLAND-SEATTLE BUMP. The overnight rating for the MLS match between Portland and Seattle on ESPN was a 0.6 -- the best regular-season overnight on ESPN/ESPN2 since 2001.
ADIDAS RECORD SALES. Adidas has raised its forecast for 2012 sales of soccer equipment to a record of more than $2 billion as fans snap up its Adizero F50 shoes and Euro 2012 replica shirts. "Football is the heart and soul of our company and is what has made Adidas great," chief executive Herbert Hainer said. "We have gained market share, according to all the numbers I have." More than one million Germany replica shirts have been sold, making them the most popular European Championships shirt adidas has sold.
WORTH THE READ. Want to know what goes into the extensive stats ESPN throws at fans during Euro 2012? Forbes contributor Zach Slaton followed ESPN’s Stats & Information Group as they provided the statistics and figures.
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