04 July 2008

American Televisions Tuning in to Soccer

3.8 million Americans tuned in to ABC to watch the network's first ever U.S. broadcast of a European Championship final. And as we know, they were treated to a great match of attacking, honest football.

Of course 3.8 is a fraction of the number who tune in to watch the NFL's championship game, the Superbowl. The Superbowl has long been the kingpin of American sports broadcasting; as much sport as it is marketing. A fact bolstered by the multi million dollar 30 second ad spots and the fact more people discuss the commercials than the game, but I digress. What if we take another sport, say hockey, and compare.

Hockey has long been considered a America's "fourth" sport, behind NFL, Major League Baseball, and the NBA.

I don't want to pick on hockey, I rather enjoy watching a live game - but this year's Stanley Cup finals, which incidentally was the most watched by American audiences in 6 years, averaged 2.3 million viewers. Not an earth shattering number in the least.

Juxtapose that figure with an American audience of 3.8 Million, tuning in to watch a Championship match between two European countries, Spain and Germany, on a Sunday afternoon no less, and I think what you see is the makings of something special for soccer in American sports media. Granted it's a crowded field, but advertisers like viewers, and networks like advertisers...let's hope they are paying attention.

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