Al Jazeera America, 11/23/2013
In a reflection of changing demographics in the U.S., Mexican soccer is a significant player on American television. A 2012 ESPN poll confirmed that in the key 12- to 24-year-old demographic, soccer has surpassed basketball, college football and Major League Baseball to become the second-most watched sport after pro football. But among all age groups of Hispanics in the U.S., soccer’s anticipated edge was even more pronounced than expected (almost nine percentage points higher than the second-place NFL), prompting ESPN to buy the rights to English-language broadcasts of Mexico’s pro soccer league, Liga MX. English-language ESPN and ABC broadcasts of the last World Cup saw the U.S. team peak with just over 15 million viewers, versus Mexico’s peak of 5.5 million. But Spanish-language broadcasts of Mexican games on Univision averaged 6.1 million viewers, with a peak of 8.7 million when Mexico faced Argentina in the second round. This suggests that in terms of U.S. media, Mexico’s presence in the World Cup is at least as important as the U.S.’s.