MADRID — Tuesday’s World Cup soccer match between Spain and France was watched by 12.2 million viewers, a four-year audience record in Spain only bettered by the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest Final (12.75 million).
That’s small comfort for Spaniards, whose team lost 3-1 to the Zinedine Zidane-led France.
But Spanish broadcasters are the winners.
Spain’s games were simulcast by terrestrial channels Cuatro and La Sexta. Launching in November, Cuatro needed the World Cup to draw viewers while 3-month-old La Sexta needed it to spur Spaniards into adjusting sets to receive its signal.
On Tuesday, Cuatro achieved its second-best daily audience share, 16.7%, only bettered by Telecinco’s 20%.
Thanks to the World Cup, La Sexta is now on the radar of Spaniards, with commentator Andres Montes’ description of Spain’s fluid passing game, “ticki tacka,” a catchphrase.
Passing on the World Cup, terrestrial rivals Antena 3 and Telecinco have lost share, dropping 2.9% and 2.5% vs. last Tuesday, which didn’t feature a Spain game.