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Nike, Fox emerge as World Cup winners

News, 08 July 2015

NEW YORK: The USA team beat Japan to win the Women's World Cup, but off the pitch Nike and Fox have also emerged as winners, the former gaining significant social media attention, the latter record viewing figures.

A total of 25.4m people watched Sunday's final on Fox, which the New York Post noted was a record for any soccer game – men's or women's – that had been shown on English-language television.

And when another 1.3m watching on Spanish-language station Telemundo were added, the final total of 26.7m was just ahead of the number that watched last year's men's World Cup final in Brazil.

It helped of course that the game was played in Vancouver, so enabling it to be shown in a prime time slot. But Fox executives were still surprised at the figures, which exceeded those for crucial World Series baseball games and the deciding game of the NBA finals.

"No question, I underestimated where this would be," said Mike Mulvihill, svp/ programming and research at Fox Sports, who was expecting maybe 19m viewers.


"It's one of the most pleasant surprises we've ever had," he told the New York Times.

Ed Desser, a sports television consultant, sounded a note of caution. "It was a very interesting event that took place at a good time of day in the right hemisphere, and there were good story lines," he said.

"But you won't see a material difference in the sports business off this event. Next week things will be back to normal."

In the battle of the brands, official World Cup sponsor adidas lost out to rival Nike, sponsor of the USA women's team, MediaPost reported. Nike gained 121% more mentions via digital channels than adidas according to research by digital marketing firm Amobee Brand Intelligence.

And other official FIFA sponsors were well down the social talking agenda: Coca-Cola attracted 16% as many World Cup mentions as Nike, and Visa 13%.

Chevrolet, also a USA team sponsor, was unable to cash in to the same extent as Nike, featuring in only 17% as many digital conversations.

Data sourced from New York Times, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff