The World Cup match between the United States and England drew big ratings for ABC, and the tournament as a whole is drawing far greater numbers than in 2006.
ABC scored 13 million viewers for the 1-1 tie between the United States and England on Saturday (June 12), the biggest audience for a U.S. men’s national team match since 1994. It’s also the No. 5 soccer broadcast all time in this country, behind three World Cup Finals (including the 1999 women’s final) and the U.S. men’s round of 16 game against Brazil in 1994 (when the U.S. was the host country).
Had the game aired in primetime, it would likely rank among the top five telecasts for the week, trailing only the NBA Finals and about even with the Tuesday edition of “America’s Got Talent.”
Spanish-language broadcaster Univision logged an additional 4.1 million viewers for USA-England, bringing the total audience to a little over 17 million.
ESPN and ABC’s broadcasts of the first five matches of the World Cup on Friday and Saturday — all of them live — averaged 4.9 million viewers. That’s more than double the average audience for the opening games of the 2006 World Cup. ESPN’s most-watched match so far was between Argentina and Nigeria on Saturday; it drew a little over 3.7 million viewers.
Univision, meanwhile, is averaging 3.2 million viewers over the first two days of the World Cup, including 5.4 million for the Mexico-South Africa match that kicked off the tournament.
The United States plays its next match at 10 a.m. ET Friday (June 18) against Slovenia.
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