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UPDATE: World Cup 2014 Delivers ESPN & Univision’s Best Soccer Ratings Ever

By and | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 1:40pm PDT

UPDATE: World Cup 2014 Delivers ESPN & Univision’s Best Soccer Ratings Ever2ND UPDATE, 1:40 PM: We know the winner of yesterday’s World Cup final was Germany, but it looks like ABC/ESPN and Univision scored too. Both broadcasters had their best World Cup ever this year, with ESPN/ABC up 39% in viewership over the 2010 World Cup and up 96% over the 2006 World Cup. Over the 64 games of this year’s tournament, Univision was up 34% from its total audience from 2010.

Broadcasting live on ABC on Sunday afternoon, the Germany’s 1-0 victory over Argentina in a game that went extra time was watched by 17.324 million viewers with an average rating of 9.1. That marks the most-watched men’s soccer final ever for the Disney-owned properties and the third-most-watched soccer game ever in the U.S., behind only the 18.22 million who watched USA-Portugal on ESPN on June 22 and the 17.95 million who saw Team USA win the Women’s World Cup final in 1999 over China. Sunday’s final was the most-watched World Cup championship game in U.S. Spanish-language TV history with an average total audience of 9.2 million (5.0 million adults 18-49), with the broadcaster out-delivering ABC in the big Miami and LA markets. Read More »

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World Cup: Germany Beats Argentina In Final

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 2:36pm PDT

World Cup: Germany Beats Argentina In FinalWith a goal scored at nearly the end of extra time, Germany has won the 2014 World Cup over Argentina. After a 0–0 score after a regulation 90 minutes, the European side’s Mario Gotze took a pass off his chest, then kicked it past  the South Americans in the 112th minute to take the Beautiful Game’s greatest prize before a crowd of 74,738 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and a global audience of probably billions watching on TV (we’ll have ratings as soon as they become available). A last-minute direct kick by Argentina’s Lionel Messi sailed high over the German net that might have evened the score, and sent the game into a shoot out. This is only the sixth time a World Cup final has gone into extra time. The win is German’s fourth World Cup, after victories in 1954, 1974 and 1990 (well, it was West German then, and the win also came over Argentina).

Starting on June 13 with 32 teams competing, this year’s tournament has seen record-breaking ratings and viewership results for both of the tournament’s U.S. broadcasters, ESPN and Univision.Both have seen double-digit gains over the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Check back Monday morning for TV ratings results from today’s final from both countries as well the stateside broadcasters. Today’s final was shown on ABC as well as the Spanish language broadcaster.

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: Cable Reigns At Emmy Noms, ESPN Scores Again With World Cup, ‘Birdman’ To Open Venice (Video)

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 10:33am PDT
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Morning Report, Thursday July 10

Cable was king at this morning's Emmy noms and HBO topped the list with 99 nods, ESPN pulls in the best overnight rating ever for a World Cup semifinal, 'Birdman' is selected as the opening pic of the Venice Film Festival. Dominic Patten reports.

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UPDATE: Germany’s Victory Over Brazil Top Rated Non-U.S. Team World Cup Game Ever

UPDATE: Germany’s Victory Over Brazil Top Rated Non-U.S. Team World Cup Game EverUPDATE, 1:31 PM: When you win 7-1, you win big. Like Germany’s big semifinal win over Brazil yesterday at the World Cup, ESPN had a very good game. With a 4.2 rating and 6.643 million viewers watching the afternoon game on the sports network, the match was both the highest-rated and most viewed World Cup semifinal in American TV history. In fact with the exception of games where the now departed TeamUSA played, yesterday’s match is the highest- rated World Cup ever on ESPN/ESPN2. It beat the 4.0 that Mexico’s loss to the Netherlands on June 20 pulled in, which was the previous non-USA participating record. Over on Univision, the stunning blow-out game drew 5.8 million viewers to be the top World Cup semifinal ever on the Spanish language network. Germany will face the winner of today’s semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina on July 13.

PREVIOUS, 2:34 AM: Is a spoiler alert really necessary on what’s already such a historic game?…

In the highest-scoring semi-final match in the 84-year history of the World Cup, Germany crushed Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday. We do not yet have viewing figures from Brazil, but in Germany, the historic triumph drew an all-time record audience. An average of 32.57M viewers watched from 10 PM local time on ZDF. The previous record was set by the 2010 World Cup semi-finals in South Africa which drew 31.1M. A staggering 87.8% of the country was tuned in last night — and that of course … Read More »

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UPDATE: ESPN Wins With Brazil Vs. Colombia Game Ratings

UPDATE: ESPN Wins With Brazil Vs. Colombia Game RatingsSpoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…

UPDATE, 2:12 PM: The USA are out of the World Cup but the ratings goals keep going in the net for ESPN. The Independence Day match between host Brazil and Colombia drew 6.349 million viewers to become the most watched World Cup quarterfinal ever in ESPN and ABC history. The Brazil winning game, which got a 3.6 rating, beat the previous record holder of the 5.71 million who watched the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal between Germany and Argentina on ABC on July 3rd that year. The earlier match on Friday (France vs. Germany on ESPN2) delivered an average audience of 4.89 million and a 2.9 rating.  Over on Univision, the Brazil vs. Colombia game averaged 5.5 million viewers with 3.0 million among Adults 18-49.  Brazil beat Colombia 2-1. Read More »

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UPDATE: USA Vs. Belgium Delivers ESPN’s 2nd Most Watched Men’s Soccer Game Ever, Univision Gets Over 5M Viewers

By and | Wednesday July 2, 2014 @ 12:48pm PDT

UPDATE: USA Vs. Belgium Delivers ESPN’s 2nd Most Watched Men’s Soccer Game Ever, Univision Gets Over 5M ViewersSpoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…

UPDATE, 12:48 PM: Yesterday’s defeat for Team USA was a real letdown for all those across the country who took part of their afternoon to watch the World Cup knockout game against Belgium. However, for ESPN and Univision that dedicated audience was a real score, to use the already overused term. ESPN had 16.49 million viewers watching the game and a 9.8 rating. That is not a record for ESPN, but it is the second-most watched men’s soccer game in U.S. TV history. Yesterday’s game falls behind the 18.22 million who watched the American team’s heartbreaking last-minute tie with Portugal on June 22, which got a 9.6 rating. However, the latter game was on a Sunday unlike yesterday’s weekday match. In that context and the fact that the ratings for Tuesday’s dramatic game doesn’t count all the massive crowds across the nation who watched on jumbo screens means that the U.S. vs. Belgium match probably actually was  much closer to the June 22 game in relative terms

Over on Univision, 5.1 million viewers watched the game, which went into extra time. While not the record-breaking 10.4 million who tuned in for Mexico’s loss on June 29 to the Netherlands nor the 6.5 million who saw Portugal tie Team USA, yesterday’s Univision viewership is better than the 3.4 million who watched America’s 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26. Online, Univision Digital saw a record-breaking 1.8 million unique viewers watch yesterday’s game. Maybe they were there because they were worried that ESPN’s WatchESPN app would crash again as it did during the USA-Germany game. Actually the ESPN app performed rather well and averaged 3.5 million unique viewers during the match. Read More »

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World Cup Ratings Update: Univision Hits Highest Viewership Ever With Mexico Vs. Netherlands Game

By and | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

World Cup Ratings Update: Univision Hits Highest Viewership Ever With Mexico Vs. Netherlands GameSpoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…

UPDATE, 11:45 AM: It was a loss for Mexico to the Netherlands that saw the North American country’s World Cup 2014 dreams end. However, for Univision, the Sunday game was nothing but a win. 10.4 million viewers watched the Spanish language network’s broadcast of the match. That makes Sunday’s game not only the most watched soccer game ever on Univision or any other US-based Spanish language broadcaster but also the most univison logowatched telecast ever on the broadcaster or any other  any other US-based Spanish language broadcaster. The previous record holder was the 9.0 million who watched the December 3, 2007 broadcast of  the telenova Destilando Amor on Univision. Sunday game on Univision also bested ESPN’s broadcast of the Mexico vs. Netherlands match by 57% more in terms of viewers and 68% among Adults 18-49. But that’s also a record in terms of soccer viewership for Univision and any U.S.-based Spanish-language broadcaster.

PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: Sunday’s World Cup match-ups saw the Netherlands make a late comeback to dash Mexico’s hopes of advancing to the quarter finals, and Costa Rica overtake Greece in a 5-3 penalty shoot out. The matches continued to set new records for ESPN, with both drawing a 4.5 in the overnight ratings. The two Round of 16 matches now rank as the network’s 4th and 5th largest overnight rating for a World Cup match in any round. The … Read More »

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UPDATED Ratings Rat Race: NBA Draft Scores Biggest Stats Ever On ESPN

By | Friday June 27, 2014 @ 3:50pm PDT

UPDATED Ratings Rat Race: NBA Draft Scores Biggest Stats Ever On ESPNUPDATE, 3:30 PM: ESPN’s exclusive coverage of the 2014 NBA draft on Thursday snagged an average of 3.451 million viewers, making it the most-watched NBA Draft across all networks since 1995 (3.626 million) and the most-watched NBA Draft ever on ESPN. The event, which began its telecast at 7 PM ET, came in 15% better than last year’s telecast ( 2.999 million) in overall audience.

Additionally, the NBA Draft on WatchESPN saw 327,000 unique viewers (up 166% over last year), 6.3 million total minutes (up 12% over last year) and an average minute audience of 22,856 (up 18% over last year).

The 2014 NBA Draft on ESPN was the most-talked-about TV program on Twitter yesterday, with 2.7 million tweets, according to Nielsen Social. The event was the fourth most-talked about NBA telecast of the year behind Game 5 (6.4 million), Game 1 (3.1 million), and Game 4 (2.9 million) of The Finals.

PREVIOUS: Night 2 of CBS’ Big Brother was as strong as the first. The reality series posted a 2.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demo Thursday, even with its season premiere the night before to again finish as the night’s top-rated and most-watched show on broadcast. That, plus a Big Bang Theory rerun, helped give CBS back-to-back nightly wins in total viewers and the demo.

ABC landed in second place overall in viewers, thanks to the second-season premiere of NY Med (0.9), which fell 25% from its series premiere in 2012 in the demo, but landed its biggest overall crowd, with 5.5 million viewers.  Earlier Thursday, ABC aired Rookie Blue (0.8) and Black Box (0.6), the latter of which dropped 14% from its series debut a week ago to tie a series low, while the former tumbled 27% from its season premiere last week to also tie a series low. Read More »

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UPDATE: USA Vs. Germany Hits ESPN’s Second-Best World Cup Ratings Ever

By | Friday June 27, 2014 @ 12:19pm PDT

UPDATE: USA Vs. Germany Hits ESPN’s Second-Best World Cup Ratings EverUPDATE, 12:19PM: The USA’s 1-0 loss to Germany yesterday at the World Cup stayed in a solid second and third place. Not that America won’t advance in the tournament but in terms of ratings and viewership the game was the second-highest-rated and the third-most-watched men’s World Cup match ever on ESPN or ESPN2, says the sports channel. The broadcast averaged a 6.7 rating, beating the 6.3 rating that the USA vs. Ghana game got on June 16 but behind 9.6 rating that the USA vs. Portugal match of June 22. Viewer-wise, the Germany game was watched by 10.77 million yesterday. That’s ESPN’s biggest non-holiday weekday broadcast ever. Over on Univision, 3.4 million viewers watched the game. That was the most viewed match of the day on a day that saw Portugal vs. Ghana among other games.

Overall, ESPN has seen its largest World Cup viewership ever over the first 48 matches. In a 46% rise from the 2010 World Cup, the games in Brazil are 3.54 million viewers and a 2.2 rating.

PREVIOUS, 7:25AM: Thursday’s USA vs. Germany World Cup match may have ended with the European side winning 1-0, but America did enough to advance to the knockout round. On the TV side, however, yesterday’s game was a solid win for ESPN. With people all across the country ducking out of work to watch, the early weekday game got a 6.3 overnight rating, the network’s third-highest-rated World Cup men’s game ever. Nielsen said coverage peaked from 1:45-2 PM ET with a 9.5 rating.

Demand for the USA-Germany game was intense enough that the live stream on ESPN’s WatchESPN app crashed soon after the game started. About 1.4 million watched WatchESPN for the first half. Overall, WatchESPN attracted a record 1.7 million viewers during the game Thursday, though the offerings included the concurrent Portugal-Ghana game and Wimbledon. Read More »

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World Cup Ratings: Univision & ESPN Share Spoils With Mexico-Croatia Game

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 1:35pm PDT

World Cup Ratings: Univision & ESPN Share Spoils With Mexico-Croatia GameSpoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…

Mexico’s impressive victory over Croatia yesterday that vaulted it into the World Cup second round sent Univision‘s ratings into orbit. The Spanish-language network’s coverage averaged 7.1 million total viewers and 3.9 million adults 18-49. That topped ESPN‘s coverage, which drew 2.5 million viewers, and not surprisingly topped the 6.5 million total viewers it had for Sunday’s USA-Portugal thriller, which marked Univision’s best viewership number ever for a Team USA game. (Expect all those U.S. records to be smashed for Thursday’s USA-Germany game that will decide the Americans’ fate.) Overall, both networks are seeing big spikes to date in ratings, with ESPN up 48% in total viewers and Univision up 46% through yesterday’s games.

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World Cup: England v Uruguay Scores Biggest UK TV Audience Since 2012 Olympics

By | Friday June 20, 2014 @ 7:35am PDT

World Cup: England v Uruguay Scores Biggest UK TV Audience Since 2012 OlympicsSpoiler Alert if you haven’t seen match…

UPDATED: It was a bad night for England, but a good night for ITV. Uruguay’s 2-1 defeat of the Three Lions was watched by a massive peak of 20.29M viewers for a 70.7% share. That’s the UK’s biggest TV audience since the 2012 Olympics in London. The match averaged 18.51M viewers and a 67.8% share starting at 8 PM local. The full coverage, including pre-game and halftime, averaged 13.29M for a 55.5% share.

Image (2) espn1__140517160001-275x76.jpg for post 732289ESPN this morning reported a 2.7 metered market average for England-Uruguay, up a tick from the Spain-Chile game the day before and three tenths ahead of the Japan-Greece matchup that was the late game yesterday. Today’s matches see Italy play Costa Rica; Switzerland and France face off; and Honduras meet Ecuador.

Meanwhile, there are some fresh numbers for overall coverage. As we’ve been reporting, the tournament in the U.S. is rating higher than the 2010 South Africa event. That’s partly down to the time zone being more favorable, while Team USA’s win and the preponderance of Latin American sides don’t hurt. Through the first 20 matches of the tournament, ESPN says its networks are averaging a 2.4 U.S. rating and 3.835M viewers. That’s an increase of 26% and 31%, respectively, from the first 20 matches in 2010. Spanish-language network Univision says its Deportes coverage has reached 42M total viewers thus far and is … Read More »

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World Cup Ratings Update: Univision Draws 6.8 Million Viewers For Mexico-Brazil Game, Joins ESPN On Overall Upswing

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 3:19pm PDT

World Cup Ratings Update: Univision Draws 6.8 Million Viewers For Mexico-Brazil Game, Joins ESPN On Overall UpswingSpoiler Alert if you haven’t watched matches…

2ND UPDATE, 3:19 PM: Univision Deportes’ coverage of the World Cup group game yesterday snagged an average of 6.8 million total viewers and 3.5 million adults 18-49. As expected the Spanish-language network outgunned ESPN, which drew 4.2 million viewers on top of a 3.2 overnight rating that tied the overnight for the World Cup opener last week between Brazil and Croatia. Overall, Univision said 12.2 million total viewers tuned in to all or part of the broadcast, which aired on Univision Deportes and simulcast on Univision. The average viewer number set a record for Univision Deportes, besting the Mexico-France match (6 million) at the 2010 World Cup. Overall the tournament has been good to both ESPN and Univision: through 17 games, the former is up 28% in total viewers, and the latter is up 54% through today’s games. As for today’s matchups, expect strong numbers for Spain-Chile.

UPDATE, 9:12 AM: ESPN said its coverage of the Mexico-Brazil game last night drew a 3.2 overnight rating. Expect that to be dwarfed by Univision’s numbers which are still in the works, but that compares to the 7.0 rating ESPN saw for the U.S.-Ghana opener Monday night. The World Cup continues to score for ESPN though, with the first 17 games drawing a 2.9 metered market average. That’s up 26% from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks in part to host Brazil’s proximity to the States, with the late game kicking off close to primetime on the East Coast. Read More »

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: ESPN Scores With World Cup Ratings, Hillary Clinton Dominates Cable News, Jay Leno To Be Honored (Video)

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 11:52am PDT
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Morning Report, June 18

World Cup continues to propel ESPN's ratings to record levels, Hillary Clinton wraps up her first “Book Tour” interviews on CNN & Fox, Jay Leno to receive Mark Twain Prize for humor. Dominic Patten reports.

Related:
World Cup Ratings Update: ESPN Numbers Up 26% Over 2010 So Far; Mexico-Brazil Draws 3.2 Overnight
Hillary Clinton Emerges Largely Unscathed From CNN, Fox News Interviews
Jay Leno To Receive This Year’s Mark Twain Prize For Humor

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: World Cup Ratings, Stanley Cup Mayor Rivals, ‘Heroes Reborn’ (Video)

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 11:50am PDT

Related:
USA-Ghana Nets ESPN Highest Ever Overnight Rating For Men’s World Cup Match
Mayors de Blasio And Garcetti Settle Stanley Cup Bet On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’
‘Heroes’ Alum Jack Coleman Set For NBC’s ‘Heroes Reborn’ Miniseries

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Morning Report, Tuesday June 17

ESPN scores with overnight ratings for U.S.-Ghana match, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Pays Up On Stanley Cup bet on ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live', 'Heroes' alum Jack Coleman signs on for 'Heroes Reborn' miniseries. Dominic Patten reports.

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Canadian Kiefer Sutherland Voices U.S. World Cup Team’s Intro But Supports England (Video)

By | Monday June 16, 2014 @ 4:42pm PDT

Canadian Kiefer Sutherland Voices U.S. World Cup Team’s Intro But Supports England (Video)OK so a Canadian who plays perhaps the top American anti-terrorist operative ever narrated the flag waving intro video for the U.S. team that played on ESPN today before the World Cup game against Ghana. What makes Great White North-raised Kiefer Sutherland’s presence in the patriotic presentation all the richer is that tonight on Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, Sutherland’s Jack Bauer finds himself at London’s Wembley Stadium, one of the pantheons of soccer – a game that Americans are still warming up to professionally. Oh yeah and the British-born Kiefer’s said publicly that he’s backing England in the World Cup this year. Check out the video from today here: Read More »

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UPDATE: World Cup Ratings: England v Italy Gives ESPN Most-Watched Non-U.S. Group Match; BBC One Scores 11.5M Viewers

Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen match…

world-cup-2014UPDATE 4:28 PM PT: The England-Italy game that was played on Saturday averaged a 2.6 rating for ESPN with 4.615M viewers. That makes it ESPN/ESPN2’s most-watched non-U.S. Group Stage World Cup game ever. The network says that only three U.S. men’s Group Stage matches have delivered a larger audience (the side has yet to take the field this year). In terms of household ratings, England’s defeat at the hands of the Azzurri is the 2nd highest-rated non-U.S. Group Stage World Cup game, falling behind Thursday’s Brazil-Croatia opener which scored a record overnight average of 3.2 in the metered markets. Univision, meanwhile, reports that its World Cup audience is 25% larger among total viewers than in 2010 through eight matches. Yesterday was the most-watched Saturday of Group play in Univision Deportes’ World Cup history, the network says. Those matches included Colombia-Greece, Uruguay-Costa Rica and England-Italy. Today’s big match-ups included France versus Honduras, which ended a few hours ago, and Argentina versus Bosnia-Herzegovina, who are still on the pitch. Germany faces off with Portugal tomorrow at 12 PM ET, but what Americans will really have their eyes on is how the U.S. fares against Ghana at 6 PM ET.

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UPDATE: World Cup Ratings: ESPN Draws 3.1M Viewers To Spain v Netherlands

By | Saturday June 14, 2014 @ 1:22pm PDT

Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen match…

Fifa-World-Cup-2014-BrazilUPDATE, 1:22 PM PT: Friday’s Spain-Netherlands game, which rematched the 2010 World Cup final adversaries, scored a 2.0 rating for ESPN with 3.1M viewers on Friday. That was down from the record 4.4M total viewers the network had for Thursday’s opener between Brazil and Croatia. Univision, which is also airing the games Stateside, has offered up its household ratings with the LA market pulling a 5.1 for the Spaniards versus the Dutch; New York was a 3.2. Today (or at midnight tonight if you’re in Europe like I am) England faces off with Italy in what is expected to be a massively watched game, on this side of the world for sure.

PREVIOUS, 2:35 AM PT: Last night’s match between defending World Cup champions Spain and their adversary in the 2010 final in South Africa, the Netherlands, was eagerly anticipated at home and abroad. But in what was an unexpected rout, the Dutch team bested the Spaniards by a staggering 5-1. spain netherlands world cup In the Netherlands, the match was watched by an average 7.2M on Nederland 1. The audience peaked just before the end of play with 8.3M. In Spain, it was watched by 11.2M for a 68.5% share according to local reports. Watching from the sidelines, the UK registered an average 8.22M … Read More »

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UPDATE: World Cup Opener Scores Record Rating For ESPN

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 11:58am PDT

Brazil Croatia World Cup RatingsUPDATE, 11:58 AM: ESPN isn’t the only ones broadcasting the World Cup to Americans this year and it looks like it isn’t the only one getting the most eyeballs on the ball. Univision had 5.1 million viewers for the opening game of the World Cup yesterday, compared to the 4.4 million total viewers ESPN had for the host country’s 3-1 victory. Of course those numbers paled besides the UK viewership: ITV’s coverage pulled in 8.2 million viewerd between 7-11:15 PM GMT with the actual match itself getting more than 11 million viewers. The UK channel’s viewership peaked at 9:30 PM with 12.61 million watching. That’s a big leap over BBC 1’s most watched show last night, the soap EastEnders, which drew 4.94 million. On Saturday, England makes its debut in the tournament with a game against Italy, so expect big big numbers then.

PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: EPSN has scored with the World Cup — at least in the first game as Brazil held off Croatia. The opener featuring the host team against a determined Croatia side yesterday averaged a 3.2 overnight rating in the metered markets, a 52% increase compared to the 2010 opening match, which drew a 2.1 rating and pitted host South Africa against Mexico. The network is saying Brazil-Croatia is the highest overnight rating for a World Cup opening game on record, according to Nielsen, since ESPN began tracking metered markets for the … Read More »

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UPDATE: Jennifer Lopez WILL Perform At Thursday’s World Cup Opening Ceremony

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 2:33am PDT

Jennifer Lopez PitbullUPDATE: WEDNESDAY 2:33 AM PT: Well that was a quick turnaround. International soccer federation FIFA said on Monday (see below) that Jennifer Lopez would not be performing at the World Cup Opening Ceremony on Thursday, which her reps confirmed. Now, FIFA says the singer is headed to Brazil. “FIFA and the Local Organising Committee are delighted to announce that we will have the full-line up of stars available to perform the Official Song ‘We Are One’ this Thursday at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. This is exciting news for not only those spectators who should arrive early and see the show live in the stadium but also for fans all over the world watching on TV,” the group said today. Also joining Pitbull, Claudia Leitte and Lopez to perform the song is local cultural group Olodum. Lopez told the Associated Press late last night, “I’m coming. I leave tonight. We always were going. I think people get anxious, especially with me and my schedule when I’m like, ‘Ah, OK, I can leave this day, that day, I don’t know if we can make it.’” A Lopez rep also People, “Jennifer has always wanted to participate in the World Cup opening ceremonies. We have been trying to work out scheduling and logistics. Any statements to the contrary were premature. Jennifer would not want to disappoint her fans or fans of futbol. She will be there.”

PREVIOUS MONDAY AM: While organizers hurry to get closer to a state of readiness for the World Cup kickoff this week, they’ve lost one of their headliners for the Opening Ceremony. Jennifer Lopez, who was due to perform the official song, will “regretfully” not attend, her rep confirms. Soccer governing body FIFA has said Lopez would not be able to perform due to unspecified “production issues.” She was to sing “We Are One (Ole Ola)” with rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. Not necessarily Olympic in size, this Opening Ceremony is still the first window onto the world’s biggest Fifa-World-Cup-2014-Brazilsporting event and could attract as many as 1 billion TV viewers around the globe Thursday. The pre-game festivities will last 25 minutes — organizers have estimated that 20 hours of prep would go into each of those minutes with about 84 hours of rehearsals for the 600 artists that include acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, capoeira performers and stilt walkers. The ceremony starts at 2:15 PM ET, with Brazil hosting Croatia for a 4 PM ET kickoff. ESPN and Univision are airing the proceedings in the U.S. Click over for video of Lopez, Pitbull and Leitte performing the song you’re likely to hear on a loop for the next month. Read More »

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