Uncle Sam Indifferent to Soccer World Cup

30 July 2002

Despite the unexpectedly good showing by the US national soccer team, the nation at large was relatively indifferent to last month’s World Cup – an event that now challenges the Olympics as the globe’s biggest media and marketing bonanza.

A study by Initiative Media North America shows that only some eight percent of Americans – 21 million in all – bothered to watch one or more of the tournament’s matches. This figure compares with 85% of all Europeans, totalling around 670 million viewers.

Prominent among the relatively scant US audience was the nation’s Hispanic community which, says Initiative’s svp/director of broadcast research Stacey Lynn Koerner, means that World Cup broadcasts will become an increasing effective conduit for reaching the nation’s Hispanic market.

This year’s soccer-fest achieved record ratings stateside for Spanish language networks such as Galavision, TeleFutura and Univision. “The World Cup is really a property for advertisers who either have a strong Hispanic American effort, or have a global presence,” believes Koerner. “So the World Cup is an event that can help [these] advertisers unify their messaging in a global way.”

Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff