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:; additional content by WARC staff