The US national team started 2014 with a bang as forward Chris Wondolowski opened the match with a goal at the four-minute mark. Unfortunately, Team USA fans watching on ESPN2 missed it. The station continued to show the final minutes of college basketball match between Clemson and Florida State.
Seven minutes into the game and the station finally switched over. As you can expect, this didn’t sit too well with USMNT fans who watched the game on ESPN2.
The game wasn’t a official FIFA matchday and not an incredibly important one in general besides it being a warm-up/team tweak for the World Cup. However, it’s a sad state of affairs at ESPN when a college basketball game is considered more important than a soccer game featuring the national team, especially in light of the team’s very successful 2013 campaign.
What does it mean when Spanish-language UniMas shows the same game from beginning to end when English-language ESPN doesn’t? This on top of the fact that ESPN/NBC lost viewers in its MLS coverage while UniMas actually gained viewers:
The Spanish-language audience on UniMas increased almost 6 percent from last year’s audience to 514,000 viewers, more than double what they were only three years ago on another Univision network, Galavision.
The numbers are consistent with the trend during the 2013 regular season. Univision reported that the average viewers on UniMas’ MLS regular-season broadcasts (223,000) topped those on ESPN2 (181,000).
Sports Business Daily had reported that the average viewership dropped 29 percent on ESPN/ESPN and 8 percent to 112,000 on NBCSN (which had benefited in 2012 from usually high viewerships due to lead-ins from its London Olympics coverage).
Courtesy Soccer America.