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World Cup 2002

In L.A., Univision Outdraws ESPN on U.S. Soccer Upset

June 19, 2002|LARRY STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Univision's Spanish-language coverage of the United States' 2-0 World Cup victory over Mexico drew more than 3 1/2 times as many viewers in Los Angeles than ESPN's coverage.

According to cable ratings made available Tuesday, ESPN got a 3.1 rating with an 8 share in L.A. for the game that began at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Univision coverage on Channel 34 earned an 11.5/32, according to over-the-air broadcast ratings made available Monday.

In Hispanic households, the game got a 41.2/75, which means Channel 34's coverage was seen in 648,000 of the L.A. market's 1.573 million Hispanic households. That translates to 1.5 million Hispanic viewers.

The 3.1 ESPN rating translates to 165,000 homes and an estimated 400,000 viewers.

The combined L.A. rating for the U.S.-Mexico game on Channel 34 and ESPN was a 14.6/40, almost double the L.A. rating of 7.8/20 for Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open golf on NBC.

Nationally, ESPN got a 2.29 rating for the soccer match, which translates to 1.98 million homes and roughly about 5 million viewers.

The U.S.-Mexico game was the most-watched program on cable television over the weekend among men 18-34, getting a 4.28 rating in that demographic category. Also among men 18-34, it was the most-viewed program in history on cable television in its late-night time slot.

Through 17 late-night/early-morning World Cup telecasts, ESPN is averaging a 0.86 rating. During the same time slots last year, ESPN was averaging a 0.33.

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The U.S.-Germany quarterfinal match will be televised live by Univision and ESPN at 4:30 a.m. Friday, and will be replayed on ABC Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

ABC contemplated taking the game away from ESPN and showing it live Friday, but scrapped that idea. The main problem was that the game starts at 7:30 a.m. in the East, so "Good Morning America" would have to be preempted.

ABC has the option of taking live games away from ESPN and showing them on tape-delay, and the network has done that four times during the World Cup. But three other times ABC has waived that right and allowed ESPN to show a game live that will be shown later on ABC. And that's what it is doing with U.S. versus Germany.

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