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Ratings race is a team sport

Webs saw record-busting ratings for World Cup

Webs across the Americas saw record-busting ratings as their respective country’s soccer teams moved closer to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.

Four out of eight teams in the quarter finals hailed from soccer-mad South America and Uruguay is through to the semi-finals.

In the U.S., Univision’s exclusive lock on Spanish-language broadcast rights paid off in aud levels on June 27 when Mexico lost 3-1 to Argentina. The match drew 9.3 million viewers, becoming the most watched program in U.S. Spanish-language TV history.

Univision reportedly paid $325 million for the rights and is expecting to earn at least $100 million in ads.

Webs in other Latin American territories have opted to share the broadcast rights.

“We learned that it was impossible to profit from having an exclusive on the games as the rights were too expensive,” said Guillermo Roman, head of marketing for Mexico’s Televisa Sports.

Televisa and rival TV Azteca have been airing the games simultaneously but the traditionally dominant Televisa has had the edge in ratings and ad revs.

“We’ve exceeded our expectations in ad revenues by 25%,” said Roman who points out that 40% of the ad revs come during the games.

Both Televisa and Azteca sent between 150 to 200 personnel to South Africa, which is hosting the tournament, and have produced additional World Cup-related programs.

Their ratings dipped slightly after Mexico lost to Argentina but the focus has shifted to the remaining Latino teams.

Brazilian juggernaut Globo shares the free-to air TV broadcasting rights with rival TV Band. Globo debuted hi-def broadcasts with 5.1 surround sound for the entire World Cup and aired the match that Brazil drew 0-0 with Portugal on June 25 in 3D for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, Globo trumped TV Band with an average 70% aud share when Brazil played.Having the last South American team in play has galvanized the tiny nation of Uruguay and its three million inhabitants. Close to 70% of its households tuned in to watch Uruguay trounce Ghana on Friday on the three commercial channels and one state channel that share the broadcast rights.

“We’re expecting the country to be paralyzed today when we play in the semi finals against the Netherlands,” said Mario Varela, head of media at local ad agency Notable.

He said the webs would profit from the games given the $75,000 ad packages they each pre-sold. More advertisers bought up the remaining ad spaces as Uruguay continued to advance beyond anyone’s expectations.

In Argentina, Telefe and pubcaster Canal 7 aired the national team’s game against Germany on Saturday live, notching up ratings highs even though Argentina lost 4-0. The other games have been parceled out between them with some playing on cabler TyC Sports.

Telefe had triple the ratings that Canal 7 achieved during the Argentina matches. Combined, they captured a 97% aud share, with Telefe notching up all-time record ratings.

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