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Spanish Language Television is a World Cup Winner


World Cup 2014 US vs Algeria

Photo by: jasonwhat

The World Cup is over and ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC didn’t do too badly. But the real winner is Spanish-language television channel Univision, who have been averaging an enormous 7 million viewers per game. That’s a 54% rise in their viewership statistics when compared to the 2010 World Cup.

The U.S. – Portugal match was the most viewed soccer game in American television history, with more than 25 million viewers. That number surpasses viewing figures for both the NBA Finals and the World Series, and puts strain on the conventional wisdom that says Americans don’t watch soccer.

More Viewers, More Money

ESPN paid $100 million for the English only television rights to both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while Univision paid $355 million for the Spanish language equivalent. If those prices seem high, bear in mind that Telemundo’s successful bid for the 2018 and 2022 Spanish language rights cost them a cool $600 million.

What’s driving the price hike? Big name companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike have been putting a lot of money into network-specific advertisements. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s ran their ads in Spanish on Univision, but Nike dropped the ball on this one by using English language advertisements with poorly put together Spanish subtitles. With analysts predicting that the purchasing power of the Spanish speaking market will reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, there’s a lot of potential revenue at stake here.

Companies like Telemundo don’t usually put forward $600 million without being fairly sure what they are getting for their money. In this case, it looks like they’re certain that the U.S. soccer viewing audience is set to keep on growing.

Spanish Speakers Drive the Rising Audience

What’s pushing the shift towards soccer? For one thing, the demographics of the country are shifting with young futbol loving Latinos making up a growing percentage of the overall U.S. population.

Another trend is the rising number of boys and girls playing the sport at the weekends. The number of players registered with the U.S. Youth Soccer Organisation has passed the 3 million mark for the first time.

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