Yahoo Sports is beating rival ESPN.com for traffic that's specific to the global soccer event. But each have benefited from the unprecedented American fervor for the World Cup during the past two weeks.
Audi and Visa should be pleased about placing their bets on Yahoo for the World Cup. A Yahoo spokesperson said the two global brands have been the biggest ad buyers for its World Cup site, which was the traffic leader during the first two weeks of the soccer event, according to comScore's numbers.
Audi is the exclusive sponsor for Yahoo's coverage of the entire month-long sporting event, while constantly appearing on masthead ads and displays. Visa is the official sponsor of the Sunnyvale, CA-based Internet giant's fantasy league for the World Cup. EA Sports and Major League Soccer have also purchased Word Cup-specific ad placements, the Yahoo spokesperson said.
ComScore's numbers suggest their ad buys were well placed. From June 7-13 - which included the World Cup's first three days - Yahoo Sports accrued 22.7 million unique visitors. A Yahoo spokesperson said 7.9 million were specific to the World Cup site. For the same period, ESPN.com overall totaled 16.5 million unique visitors - which was a 3.4 million increase from the week before and can likely be attributed to its dedicated World Cup site. CBSSports.com came in third for that week, picking up 7.4 million unique visitors and increasing by 600,000 compared to the week before.
The market research company also found Yahoo Sports to be the leader for June 14-20, as it pulled in 21.7 million unique visitors. For the same period, once again ESPN (17.5 million) came in second and CBSSports.com (6.6 million) third. ESPN's coverage has been sponsored by Adidas, while Budweiser has also been a big advertiser. And Internet security brand Norton has exclusively sponsored CBSSports.com's coverage.
Meanwhile, several other brands have recently purchased display ads on the general Yahoo Sports channel and therefore have repeatedly appeared on the World Cup site while benefiting from the traffic boon. They include Target, Pantene, Southwest Airlines, Vonage, business-to-business companies Network Solutions and SAP, and Chinese renewable energy firm Yingli Solar.
The latter brand says the Yahoo ads are partly responsible for a 1,500 percent lift in site traffic since the soccer matches kicked off in South Africa. While a Yingli Solar spokesperson explained the company is trying to create brand awareness in the U.S., it has also been running ads via Chinese Internet portals and on television in its native country.
Lastly, as Americans have shown an unprecedented interest in the World Cup, traffic to those Web properties have seemed to reflect the fervor. ComScore's statistics for June 21-27 won't be available for at least a few days.
Follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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