World Cup opener a ratings high for ESPN

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Image Credit: Pedro Ugarte/Getty Images

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is setting records for ESPN, which scored its highest-rated World Cup opener when 4.435 million viewers tuned into the Brazil-Croatia telecast on Thursday.

It marked the fourth-highest-rated match of all group play games dating back to 1994 for the network, and was ESPN’s best non-U.S. game. Brazil’s 3-1 victory also became the most-watched event on the digital platform WatchESPN, bringing in 1.1 million unique viewers.

Meanwhile, Univision Deportes — the Spanish-language network broadcasting matches in the U.S. – is outdelivering the venerable sports network’s coverage of the World Cup in a number of markets and outpacing its own coverage of the 2010 soccer tournament.

Through the first four matches, Univision Deportes is beating ESPN/ESPN2 by 34 percent among total viewers. The best-performing markets for the network during World Cup broadcasts so far have included Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento.

Univision’s viewership through the first four games is also pacing ahead of its 2010 World Cup audience, up 25 percent among total viewers.

Coverage of the 2014 World Cup continues through July 13.

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