"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death.
I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is
much, much more important than that." ~ Bill Shankly.
So very true. The 2014 FIFA World Cup, now a little over 10 days
old, is hugely popular with the U.S. television audiences.
The United States has a complex relationship with soccer which has
finally made a place for itself in America's sporting culture. But
if the World Cup still seems obtuse from an American perspective,
the figures below will indicate that it has hit a home run.
In fact, Sunday night's crunch match between the U.S. and Portugal
drew 18.2 million viewers on ESPN, according to the figures from
broadcaster ESPN. This figure comfortably surpassed any of the NBA
Finals games on ABC this year, according to Nielsen. ABC and ESPN
are both owned by
The Walt Disney Company
Including the 6.5 million viewing the game in Spanish on Univision,
the match drew 24.7 million viewers - the same number that tuned
into the World Cup final in 2010 on ABC and Univision. Add to this
the viewership average of 490,000 a minute on ESPN's online app,
WatchESPN. The astounding figure clearly shows that the U.S.
audience too has caught the global football fever.
The frenzy can also be felt in the restaurant industry that got a
free kick from the escalating World Cup viewership. As the U.S.
team plays unpredictably well in the tournament, soccer fans throng
sports bars, and the restaurant stocks are fired up. Here are some
that are scoring high.
"Like Football? Try Futbol!" screams
Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.
) World Cup advertising campaign. The Golden Valley-based wings
chain, which operates more than 1,000 wings-and-beers restaurant,
is the first name that crops up as we speak of World Cup Frenzy.
June has historically been a slow time for Buffalo Wild Wings due
to a lull in sporting events in the U.S. But the World Cup in
Brazil, is being held in similar time zones and the restaurant is
making the most of the convenient match timings this year. In fact,
the restaurateur saw longer waiting times for any table for
viewership in the bar, dining room or patio of B-dubs locations
over the past 10 days, according to a report from Wunderlich
Further, the high viewership of the U.S. and Portugal match sent
shares of the company to an all-time high of $166.25 at the close
on Jun 23. This represents a rise of almost 6% from the prior
In fact the chain has also launched social media promotions besides
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV
) Budweiser brand to launch a mobile game offering World Cup
The World Cup mania has also entered the fine world of pizza
cuisine. Pizza chains like
Papa John's International Inc.
Domino's Pizza, Inc.
) are taking advantage of the globally captivated TV audience.
Papa John's had launched a promotional offer of 50% discount on all
large pizzas if the U.S. national team scores two or more goals in
its opening match. Christened "Score Twice Half Price", the offer
was redeemed online.
The pizza chains are also cracking down on mobile apps to cater to
increased online orders. In fact, mobile and online ordering
accounts for 40.0% of Domino's U.S. sales. Domino's recent deal
Nuance Communications, Inc.
) to launch a voice-ordering function in its mobile app bears
testimony to the pizza chain's efforts to ramp up its digital
platform to manage peak ordering times during the World Cup. (Read
Domino's Launches Voice Ordering Service
From the Commentary Box
While the U.S national team battles it out for the trophy, we
believe the U.S. restaurant industry has already emerged a winner.
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