Univision kicked off its coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in record ratings form.
The Spanish-language rights-holder to the futbol tourney in the U.S. scored with some 5.4 million watchers on average with the tourney's opener, the 1-1 draw between Mexico and the host nation South Africa on June 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:09 p.m., according to Nielsen live + same-day data. That delivery ranked as the largest opening-match ever for Univision, according to network officials. Included in that total were some 3.25 million adults 18 to 49.
The following Group A match, a scoreless tie between France and Uruguay, averaged 2.54 million viewers, making it Univision's second-most-watched opening day match behind Mexico-South Africa.
Together, the two matches averaged 3.99 million viewers, nearly double Univision's 2 million mark with the first two matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Given the high Mexican-American composition of its audience, Univision not surprisingly outgunned ESPN's opening match coverage, which scored with 2.6 million watchers on average from 9:25 a.m. to 12:01 p.m. on June 11, a 108% edge for the Spanish-language network.
Univision officials also said the network held a signficant advantage over ESPN with Mexico-South Africa among adults 18 to 49 (101%: 3.25 million vs. 1.62 million adults 18 to 49); persons 18 to 34 (109%: 1.933 million versus 924,359); and persons 12 to 34 (116%: 2.39 million versus 1.11 million).
Riding the big edge from the first match, Univision, as mentioned averaged 3.99 million viewers for the first two matches, 50% greater than ESPN's 2.66 average for the pair of contests.
ESPN also posted 2.31 million adults 18 to 49, 41% more than ESPN's 1.64 million with the demo over the first two matches. Similarly, Univision garnered 1.37 million persons 18 to 34 and 1.72 million persons 12 to 34, 47% more than ESPN's respective averages of 936, 714 and 1.16 million.
Head-to-head, ESPN topped Univision with France-Uruguay among total viewers 2.72 million, 7% more than 2.54 million for the Spanish-language TV leader in the States. According to Nielsen data, ESPN scored with 1.29 million males 18 to 49, 54% more than Univision, and 715,000 guys 18 to 34, 58% above its competitor with the tournament's second match.