Even as a casual fan, I am getting hooked on World Cup Soccer and I am not alone. Ratings have hit records for both ESPN and Univision. And yet I wonder, how does that translate into revenue for these two networks?
Yesterdays match between the US and Portugal was over 95 minutes of non-stop action with only one break at halftime. Each 45 minute plus half had exactly zero commercial interruptions. Sure there was ad signage around the field and occasionally a small log appeared near the score, but at no point did announcers stop to send to an ad break or announce that the last score was sponsored by someone. It was all game all the time.
And unlike the four major professional leagues in the USA, the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, the game was non-stop, non-commercial, all-joy. These other leagues would collapse without all those ad breaks. Yet soccer has not been changed enough by commercialization to force stoppages in play for commercials.
No doubt fans of the sport kept the channel on between halves so that the halftime stoppage was the only chance to air traditional commercials. And not enough of a break to air too many either. Great for the fans but revenue challenging for the broadcasters.