Execs at both ESPN and Univision, which hold U.S. television rights to next summer’s 2010 World Cup, probably enjoyed the outcomes of some soccer matches this past weekend.
That’s because the two teams they most needed to qualify for the big dance in South Africa, the United States and Mexico, did so with wins over El Salvador and Honduras, respectively. The absence of either would have been a massive blow to ratings for the major event, which takes place only every four years.
And as of now it looks like none of the biggest draws may miss out on the month-long event. Noteworthy teams like England, Brazil, Germany and Italy have also all punched their tickets for the tournament (called as a whole the World Cup Finals).
And it looks like they may be joined by Argentina after all. A huge television draw that has struggled through the qualifying stages in South America, Argentina got a last-second goal over the weekend to put itself in a better, if still precarious, position to qualify for next summer’s event.
The biggest TV draws with some work still do in qualifying are France and Ireland, but the absence of either really won’t hurt domestic TV ratings that much.