Univision Nearing World Cup Sell Out
Less than 10% of inventory remains; ESPN expected to update sales soon
By Claire Atkinson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/16/2010 8:47:53 PM
Univision Communications is nearing the final stretch of its 2010 FIFA World Cup sales efforts. "We are past 90% in sales," said David Lawenda, president advertising sales, commenting on the month long global soccer competition, which begins June 11 in host nation South Africa.
Lawenda would not cite the cost of an individual spot in the game since the event is sold in strips across the company's three outlets, which include broadcast networks Univision and Telefutura and cable channel Galavision. The games are also being streamed live online.
"There has been enormous interest in World Cup. It is a big event, but it's a difficult sell given the economy," Lawenda said. "However, we are excited about where we are at this point." Univision has also had to sell against other major sports events this year, including NBC Universal's Olympic Games and CBS' Super Bowl and NCAA basketball tournament.
Separately, agencies say the most valuable advertising opportunities are in-game, and that's limited with soccer coverage, which involves near-constant action and just a single half-time break.
The broadcaster has deals with Coca-Cola Co., Verizon, T-Mobile, Budweiser and McDonalds. Other sponsors are expected to reveal their involvement in the coming weeks.
Univision's sales team began selling the event soon after NBC closed its Beijing Olympic coverage back in mid-2008. By last June, sales stood at 65%.
While the Univision sales team is looking at the home stretch on a national level, Lawenda says there is a little more opportunity on the local level. Univision has 64 owned-and-operated stations.
While Univision is not discussing ad revenue at this stage, the 2006 FIFA World Cup netted Univision in the region of $180 million, according to reports. The Hispanic-targeted media giant spent about $325 million for U.S. for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. The company bid alongside Walt Disney Co., which spent $100 million on English-language rights over the same period.
ESPN execs say they are prepping an announcement about sponsor involvement in their side of the business.
"We are very pleased with the interest we've had from advertisers for the World Cup and will be making an announcement of sponsor involvement shortly," said sales chief Ed Erhardt.
The World Cup attracts a much bigger global audience than than Super Bowl, though the potential U.S. viewership is expected to be between 50 million to 60 million people. By comparison, CBS's Super Bowl reached a record 106 million viewers in February.
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