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USA-Portugal most-watched soccer telecast on U.S. TV ever

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 23, 2014

The numbers from ESPN are below:

  • ESPN Telecast Averages 18,220,000 Viewers and Peaks with 22,961,000 viewers
  • Match Generates WatchESPN Viewership Records
  • Most-viewed Non-Football Telecast on ESPN Ever
  • Significant Viewership Growth Over 2010 and 2006, including in All Key Demos
  • Sets Rating Record in 18 markets; Washington, D.C.; New York and San Francisco Highest-Rated Thru 32 Games

ESPN’s telecast of the United States’ 2-2 tie against Portugal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, June 22, is the most-viewed soccer match in the United States ever, across all networks, averaging 18,220,000 viewers based on a 9.6 HH US rating. It surpassed the previous high of 17,975,000 viewers for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. Additional television highlights:

  • The telecast peaked from 7:30 to 8 p.m. ET with an average of 22,961,000 viewers and an 11.9 HH US rating.
  • The match is ESPN’s most-viewed program excluding NFL and college football telecasts.
  • While Sunday’s 9.6 HH US rating is the highest-rated men’s soccer telecast ever (topping a 9.5 for Italy vs. Brazil in the 1994 final), it is the second highest-rated soccer match overall behind an 11.4 HH US rating for 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC.
  • The first 2014 FIFA World Cup match involving the United States (a 2-1 victory over Ghana) averaged 11,093,000 viewers and a 6.3 HH US rating, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed men’s soccer match on ESPN or ESPN2 on record at the time.

In addition to setting a television viewership record, Sunday’s match also set product records on WatchESPN with a 490,000 average minute audience, and total of 1,373,000 viewers and 61,691,000 minutes viewed.

Significant Television Viewership Increases Over 2010 and 2006
Overall, ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage is posting significant viewership increases over 2010 and 2006. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average 4,273,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating through the first 32 matches, marking increases of 50 percent and 109 percent (vs. 2,857,000 in 2010 and 2,048,000 in 2006), and 44 percent and 86 percent (vs. 1.8 in 2010 and 1.4 in 2006), respectively.

In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have posted significant audience increases in every key people and male demographic, highlighted by double-digit growth in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 categories.

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