As we await numbers for yesterday’s historic FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship win by team USA, broadcasters report that the team’s semifinal win on FOX drew 7,386,000 viewers with a peak of more than 9 million viewers, making the mid-day match the most watched soccer match on U.S. TV since the 2018 World Cup final also down slightly from the primetime telecast in 2015. FOX saw its digital average minute audience average 361,000 to rank as the most-streamed match ever for the event. That said, the USA/England game on FOX averaged a phenomenal 8.540 million out-of-home viewers, according to Tunity Analytics. This makes it the top televised soccer game year-to-date and the 10th highest televised sporting event year-to-date, among OOH viewers.
Around the dial, Telemundo Deportes’ presentation of the England/USA last week averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 1.02 million viewers across Telemundo, NBCSN, TelemundoDeportes.com, the Telemundo Deportes app, and the NBC Sports app, to rank as the most-watched, non-final FIFA Women’s World Cup match in Spanish-language television history, based on fast national data from Nielsen and Adobe. In addition, Telemundo Deportes Digital presentation of England-USA ranks as the most-streamed Women’s World Cup match Spanish-language history. Meanwhile, the channel also reports that the semifinal of Copa America between Brazil and Argentina scored a Total Audience Delivery average of 3 million viewers, ranking as Telemundo’s most-watched sporting event since the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.
Meanwhile, ESPN and the National Women’s Soccer League announced an agreement to carry 14 league matches that will close out the 2019 season. Eight matches will air on ESPNEWS, and the remaining six, including the two semifinals and the championship, will air on ESPN2. NWSL telecasts will begin July 14, at 3p on ESPNEWS, with the Orlando Pride/Portland Thorns. The NWSL Championship will air Oct. 27, at 4p on ESPN2, with tickets going on sale this month. “NWSL is a global leader in women’s professional soccer, with collectively the most talented players in the world. Together with the reach of ESPN’s vast network, we have the opportunity to bring more games to a broader audience across the country and world,” said NWSL President Amanda Duffy. “Even in the year leading up to the Women’s World Cup, we have continued to experience tremendous growth through the support, engagement, and visibility from our fans.”
FIFA announced plans to expand the Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams. The 37-member FIFA Council had been due to vote on the 2023 Women’s World Cup host in March 2020, with nine countries interested in bidding. “We will need to act more quickly if we want to have 32 teams already in 2023,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, per AP. “We will discuss it as a matter of urgency and see if we can already decide to increase for 2023 in which case we should re-open the bidding process and allow everyone to have a chance to organize or maybe co-host for some of those who have been bidding already for a 24-team World Cup.”
In other ratings new, ESPN drew its highest-rated NBA Summer League game ever on Friday night, with Nielsen reports that that matchup between Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans against. R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks drew a record 1.2 metered market rating on ESPN. The telecast telecast was up 200% over last year’s comparable game, which delivered a 0.4 metered market rating.
ESPN also saw the winner-take-all Game 3 of the 2019 NCAA College World Series reel in more than 2 million viewers to watch the Vanderbilt Commodores defeat the Michigan Wolverines and capture their second NCAA title in six years. The game averaged 2,020,596 viewers, up 7% year-over-year and rank as the most-watched baseball game on ESPN in 2019. The CWS Finals averaged 1,961,000 viewers over three games, matching 2018’s three-game finals which saw Oregon State take home the trophy over Arkansas.
ACC Network announced that former Notre Dame basketball team captain and current ESPN and ESPN Radio personality Jordan Cornette will join the channel to serve as a college basketball analyst and anchor in studio. Along with his ACCN analyst and anchor duties, Cornette will also serve as a co-host for Spain and Company on ESPN Radio.
Yankees television play-by-play pillar Michael Kay announced last week that he will be out for about a month in order to recover from surgery to repair a vocal cord issue. “Just wanted to tell everyone what is going on. I went to see a specialist in Boston today and he recommended I have surgery to correct an issue with my vocal cord. I will have the surgery next week and will be out for about a month, starting with today’s game and radio show,” he tweeted.
Getting back to the National Women’s Soccer League, Budweiser signed on to become the first official beer sponsor of the org in a multi-year partnership. The deal makes the brand one of the biggest sponsors of the NWSL, with naming rights to the playoffs, the championship, the MVP trophy, and a newly created “Most Valuable Supporter” award for the league’s biggest fan. Budweiser will activate the sponsorship locally, with support of the teams and stadiums. “Budweiser has supported the U.S. Women’s National team for three decades,” said Monica Rustgi, Vice President of Marketing for Budweiser. “But we realize there is so much more Budweiser can do. Becoming the official beer sponsor of the NWSL is our way of not just supporting the U.S. Women’s Team once every four years, but also supporting women’s soccer every single day.”
ESPN unveiled its roster of sponsors for The 2019 ESPYS Presented by Capital One, which runs on ABC on Wednesday at 8p. Capital One returns as the presenting sponsor of the show and will award the Capital One Cup, given annually at The ESPYS to the best men’s and women’s Division I college athletic programs in the country. First-time associate sponsor MassMutual for the Pat Tillman Award for Service joins returning associate sponsors that include Cadillac for the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, Century 21 Real Estate for the Best Breakthrough Athlete Award and Red Carpet Sky Cam, Coors Light as the presenter of the official ESPYS Post Party, Dove Men+Care highlighting the Sports Humanitarian of the Year on the red carpet. During the show, Gatorade highlighting the prestigious Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year program – and Hotels.com features an interview with Captain Obvious on the red carpet.
Xfinity Series driver Ryan Sieg locked in CMR Construction & Roofing to serve as the full-time primary sponsor on his No. 39 Chevrolet next year. The deal will mark the first time Sieg has had a yearlong primary sponsor in the Xfinity Series.
The finale of the FIFA Women’s World Cup saw intense social spread, with Twitter reporting that the most Tweeted about players from today’s match were: Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz. The most Tweeted moments of the match:
- Final whistle: USA wins World Cup
- Rose Lavelle goal in minute 69, gives USA a 2-0 lead
- Megan Rapinoe penalty kick goal in min 62 breaks the tie to give a 1-0 lead to USA
- Awards presented post-game (and follow-up conversation, esp. around pay & women’s empowerment)
- USA team lifts trophy and celebrates
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), locked in a long-term renewal of its technology partnership with Genius Sports, a partner since 2004. The duo will continue to work to improve sports integrity, data collection and digital capibilities for more than 200 basketball leagues and federations
The conclusion of ESL Pro League season 9 and its Finals saw the league break its all-time viewership records, doubling video views to reach 66.6 million versus season 8 tallies to hit over 16.1 million hours watched and ranking as the most watched season of Pro League history. Viewership was driven by a new competition format and a new visual look for CS:GO play with fans watching on 40 platforms and in 18 languages seeing Team Liquid top G2 Esports 3:1 in the Grand Final to claim the majority share of the $750,000 prize pool.
Riot Games is teaming up with Twitch to produce the first tournament dedicated to Teamfight Tactics through Twitch Rivals. The event runs July 17-18 with 64 Twitch streamers competing for a prize pool of $125,000. Day one will see players split into two groups of 32, with each group competing at different time. Day two sees the top eight from each group battle it out for their share of the prize. The full roster of streamers taking part will be announced today.
CAA Sports announced its acquisition of the London-based Base Soccer Agency, which reps more than 300 international soccer players, coaches and managers globally. “Leon and Frank are world class agents and business executives, who, throughout the past two decades, have built Base into one of the foremost international football representation firms in the U.K.,” said Michael Levine, Co-Head, CAA Sports. “Frank, Leon, and their team work collaboratively, providing best-in-class service to their clients worldwide, and we are confident they will play an integral role in the continued global growth of CAA Sports.”
The Iditarod Trail Committee named Rob Urbach as its new CEO where he will direct and oversee all operations of the race, including business operations, human resources management, information technology, fundraising, and public relations. Urbach served as the CEO of USA Triathlon from 2011-2017 and handled all day-to-day operations for the national governing body for USA Triathlon.
ESPN carries the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at 8p.