Spain-Portugal breaks viewership record

By Paul Kennedy

Wednesday’s semifinal match between Spain and Portugal drew the largest audience ever on ESPN for the semifinals of the European Championship -- 1.952 million viewers, based on a 0.7 rating.

The two semifinals drew an average of 1.907 million viewers, an increase of 46 percent compared to the two semifinals in 2008. Through 30 matches, ESPN’s live English-language coverage is averaging 1,202,000 viewers -- up 61 percent from 2008.

-- The Euro semifinals averaged 586,000 viewers on ESPN Deportes, up 250 percent compared to 2008. The Spain-Portugal game attracted 650,000 viewers, making it the third highest-rated and most watched telecast on ESPN Deportes thus far this year.

-- The semifinals were the two most-watched matches of the tournament thus far on ESPN3 and WatchESPN: 598,000 unique viewers for Spain-Portugal and 553,000 unique viewers for Italy-Germany.

FC DALLAS FINDS 'PERFECT PARTNER.' FC Dallas finally has found a jersey sponsor. The MLS club inked a multi-million dollar, multi-year partnership with Texas-based health and wellness company AdvoCare. “Our ultimate goal was to identify the perfect partner. I think we’ve found them,” FC Dallas president Doug Quinn said. “What makes this even more perfect is that they are Texas-based. We can drive 15 minutes over to their corporate headquarters to meet with their executive team ... to talk about how we can make this partnership something extremely special.”

KICKTV HIRES FRENCHMAN AS GM. KICKTV, the new online network featuring original soccer content, has hired Frenchman Julien Segui as general manager. He previously worked for the NBA Entertainment, Perform Group, Canal+ and ART Sports Channels. KICKTV continues to add new programming with Saturday's debut of the film "El Arbitro" ("The Ref") about a top Spanish Liga referee and the soon-to-be-released "FC Barcelona Confidential" and "Argentina Futbol Club."

BUDWEISER INKS MCBRIDE. FA Cup sponsor Budweiser has a team of its own in the English cup competition -- sort of. It is sponsoring non-league Wembley FC that has signed six ex-internationals, including former U.S. national team star Brian McBride, for its 2012-13 FA Cup run. Wembley FC, which plays eight leagues below the top flight, will begin play in FA Cup preliminary action on Aug. 11. Promotion of the Wembley FC journey will include a television series "Dream. On."
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