Some last thoughts on the World Cup. 24 million viewers watched the 2010 World Cup Final on ABC and Univision, the biggest ever US audience for a soccer match. Worldwide, more than 700 million people watched the game, making it the most watched match in history. Ratings were consistently outstanding with more than 19 million watching the US Ghana match and ratings consistently above expectations.
American soccer fans are of course interested in the impact of the ratings success on MLS. The Sports Business Journal is quoting Commissioner Garber’s thoughts. “We’re certainly not looking at the World Cup as having an immediate impact on our business metrics,” Garber said. “What we are looking forward to is a growing interest in the sport, a further breaking through to the general sports market and fertile environment to create business opportunities on and off the field.” The SBJ also quotes executives from ESPN and FSC about their efforts to capitalize on the World Cup and their tempered expectations for increased viewers.
SBJ also has an excellent piece on the sponsorships coming out of the World Cup. Some interesting tidbits include Coca Cola’s expectation that its sales will increase 5% because of its investment in the tournament and Adidas revised its projected revenue in the soccer category upward to $1.6 billion in the soccer category with more than 6 million jerseys and 13 million Jabulanis to be sold.
We will put out our post World cup survey soon, but the World Cup was certainly a success from almost every conceivable business perspective. Eyeballs were tuned to matches in enormous numbers whether on television, computers or phones. Sponsors got great exposure, while bars and restaurants were able to draw huge crowds at off hours to watch games from around South Africa. Apparel sales and merchandise were outstanding and soccer gained another foothold on the American sports landscape.