Officials at Univision Deportes Network said the 24-hour service was the top-performing, Spanish-language sports channel in the U.S. in primetime and total-day during the third quarter.
Beginning on Oct. 28, Nielsen began publicly reporting ratings for Univision Deportes Network, which launched in April 2012 and now counts eight major affiliates.
According to UDN officials, the network averaged 83,000 viewers in primetime during the third quarter, including 52,000 persons 18 to 49. Those deliveries surpassed the 55,000 watchers and 31,000 in the demo for Fox Sports Deportes and ESPN Deportes, which counted 54,000 and 31,000, respectively, in the period.
The results were driven in good measure by UDN’s coverage of LigaMX matches, which averaged 155,000 viewers and 99,000 persons 18 to 49, respective gains of 84% and 82% from the prior year. UDN also benefited from a pair of World Cup Qualifiers: Mexico-Honduras averaged 455,000 watchers on Sept. 16, while El Tri's match versus the U.S. on Sept. 10 scored with 692,000 viewers. (The WCQs were simulcast on UniMas.)
From a universe perspective, UDN officials said the service is available in 35 million homes, through its distribution pacts with DirecTV, Dish, Cox, Cablevision,Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. That’s more than the 21.2 million for Fox Deportes and double ESPN’s 17.3 million distribution base.
“The Nielsen ratings are proof positive that Univision Deportes Network delivers quality content and programming that drives viewers to our network and keeps them coming back and makes us the official home of Hispanic sports fans,” said UDN president Juan Carlos Rodriguez in a statement. “Through an emphasis on securing the rights of the best soccer properties, live programming, strategic partnerships, relevant content production, and integrated social media engagement we will continue to bolster our leadership position.”
In addition to LigaMX and Mexican national team futbol, UDN’s programming lineup includes Formula 1 racing, U.S. Men’s National Team soccer, Major League Soccer, European soccer, as well as Univision Deportes Fútbol Club, Contacto Deportivo, Fútbol Central and Fútbol en Serio.
In summer 2014, UDN will become a 24/7 World Cup network.