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Viewers for ESPN opener up 55 percent over 2010 opener
by Paul Kennedy, June 13th, 2014 7:03PM
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TAGS:  soccer business, television, world cup 2014

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[SOCCER ON THE AIR]ESPN’s coverage of the Brazil-Croatia World Cup opener on Thursday averaged 4.435 million viewers to rank as the most-viewed opening game of the World Cup on record (back to 1994), according to Nielsen The audience is 55 percent higher than the South Africa-Mexico game, the opening match in 2010 World Cup.

In addition, it's the fourth most-viewed group match on the ESPN networks after three U.S. games:

Top ESPN Audiences, Group Stage
AVG. MATCH (YEAR)
6,161,000 USA-Algeria (2010)
5,200,000 USA-Slovenia (2010)
4,810,000USA-Colombia (1994)
4,435,000Brazil-Croatia (2014)

On WatchESPN, streaming coverage of Brazil-Croatia produced a 1.1 million unique viewers, up 132 percent compared to the first match of the 2010 World Cup and the highest ever for a WatchESPN event.

The Top 10 Metered Markets:
CITY (RATING)
Washington, DC (5.1)
Boston (5.0)
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (4.7)
Los Angeles (4.6)
New York (4.5)
San Francisco (4.3)
Hartford-New Haven (4.3)
Providence (3.9)
Austin (3.9)
Orlando (3.8)


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