In Los Angeles, for example, nearly 20% of all Hispanic males in a key demo listened to part of the opening match between Mexico and South Africa on June 11.
Combined for the two stations simulcasting it, Arbitron figures show that 17.2% of Hispanic men 18-49 tuned in for at least five minutes. Among Hispanic men 18-34, the figure was 16.1% in L.A., the country's largest Hispanic market.
Still, the most attractive metric for ad buyers may be average quarter-hour ratings, which form the currency in the marketplace.
In L.A., the Mexico-South Africa game produced a 7.5 for the Hispanic 18-49 male demo and a 47.2 share, along with an equally noteworthy 7.1 and 55.5 share for the male 18-34 segment.
Special events such as the World Cup can produce outsized numbers, but these share levels hovering near 50 are extraordinary -- providing advertisers with an unusually efficient venue to reach a target demo.
To be sure, the Cup opener offered a dream scenario for Entravision Communications, which owns the two FM stations that simulcast it. Not only was the Mexican team playing, but the game took place on a Friday, during the morning-drive period in traffic-clogged L.A.
Entravision also benefited from listeners in the neighboring Riverside-San Bernardino market, which also has a large Hispanic audience. The average quarter-hour rating for Hispanic men 18-49 was notably higher than in L.A. at 9.2 with a 60.7 share, and an 8.1 and 58.8 share for 18-34.
Programmer Fútbol de Primera syndicates the games in Spanish to more than 100 affiliates, including 21 Entravision stations. The broadcasts have some spice, as play-by-play announcer Andres Cantor offers up his signature "GOALLLLL" call.
ESPN is carrying the Cup games in English on radio for the first time; 300 stations have picked up at least some of its feeds. ESPN last week said about 14.5 million Americans have tuned into at least part of its radio coverage.
While the Mexico-South Africa game posted strong results in L.A., Hispanic listeners did not just listen in large numbers to games involving Mexico. On June 12, 8.3% of all Hispanic males 18-49 in Los Angeles tuned in to the U.S. versus England game, and 5.2% in 18-34. Average quarter-hour ratings were 3.8 and 1.5, respectively.
The broadcast ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. local time on a Saturday afternoon, when radio listenership is expected to be lower, and people might have greater access to a TV.
Ratings then rose as Italy played Latin America's Paraguay on Monday, June 14 -- in a midday time slot with many people at work. The average quarter-hour rating was a 5.4 for Hispanic men 18-49, and the game drew a 30.2 share for the demo. Just under 12% of all Hispanic men in that age group in the Los Angeles market listened to at least some of the action.
Two days later came Chile-Honduras, offering two Latin American teams meeting during morning-drive time. Again, about 12% of all Hispanic men 18-49 tuned in, with an average quarter-hour rating of 4.9 and a 25.4 share.
Entravision says outside Southern California, it is airing matches in 13 other markets. For Spanish-language TV, Miami is drawing the highest average ratings among all local markets, followed by Los Angeles.