The 2010 World Cup clash between USA and England drew the fifth-best rating ever for a World Cup game. In addition to ranking behind the 1994 Romania-U.S. game (9.2), it trails only the 1994 Brazil-Italy final (12.8), the 1994 Brazil-U.S. game (10.4). The 2006 Italy-France final received an 8.6 rating.
UPDATED: To put these numbers in perspective, Saturday’s match drew more viewers than every game of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final — including Game 6, which hit a 36-year high of 8.3 million viewers. However, the match trails the first four games of the NBA Finals (14.1 mil, 15.7 mil, 16.0 mil and 16.4 mil). Keep in mind that the match also aired on Univision. Viewership for the Univision telecast was not immediately available. If the Univision telecast drew at least 3.5 million viewers, then USA/England would also top Games 1-4 of the NBA Finals.
UPDATED: According to ESPN, the two-hour match window averaged a 7.3 household rating (8.4 million households) and 12.9 million viewers. England against United States was the most-watched FIFA World Cup first-round match among households and viewers, and the most-viewed United States Men’s National Team game since 1994. The two-hour match window (2:30-4:30 p.m. ET) averaged a 7.3 household rating, 8,391,000 households, and 12,956,000 viewers, based on fast nationals.
Through five matches, ESPN and ABC are averaging 3,427,000 households and 4,937,000 viewers — up 95% and 108%, respectively, versus the first five games of the 2006 World Cup (1,754,000 households and 2,379,000 viewers in ’06). ESPN’s most-watched game so far is Saturday’s Argentina-Nigeria matchup – a 2.8 household coverage rating, 2,820,000 households, and 3,725,000 viewers.
Since Thursday, fans have consumed more than one million hours of World Cup content on ESPN3.com, ESPN’s signature broadband network, which is available in 50 million homes. ESPN3.com viewers are also averaging 51 minutes per match on ESPN3.com, generating 61.2 million minutes of viewing.
Note: The U.S.-England match ranks as the highest-rated World Cup game on the ESPN networks for 19 of the 56 metered markets, including: Atlanta, Birmingham, Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Greenville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Norfolk, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Tulsa.
ESPN ratings numbers thus far:
Fri., June 11:
South Africa-Mexico (ESPN, 10 a.m.) — 2.2 household coverage rating, 2.151 million HHs, 2.856 million viewers
Uruguay-France (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.) — 2.1 rating, 2.056 HHs, 2.950 viewers
Sat., June 12:
South Korea-Greece (ESPN, 7:30 a.m.) — 1.6 rating, 1.590 HHs, 1.997 viewers
Argentina-Nigeria (ESPN, 9:21 a.m.) — 2.8 rating, 2.820 HHs, 3.725 viewers
U.S.-England (ABC, 2:30 p.m.) — 7.3 (U.S.) rating, 8.391 HHs, 12.956 viewers
ESPN’s most-watched game over the weekend was Argentina vs. Nigeria — a 2.8 household coverage rating (2.8 million households) and 3.7 million viewers.
Univision ratings numbers thus far:
Friday’s Mexico/South Africa World Cup opener drew 5.4 million viewers on Univision. The match was the most-viewed Opening Day World Cup telecast ever on Univision.
Univision’s telecast of the South Africa v Mexico match was the most-viewed program of the day in three top 10 TV markets — Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. Later in the day, Uruguay v France drew 2.5 million viewers on Univision.
Overall, Univision averaged 4.0 million viewers for the first day of the World Cup, “nearly 2.0 million more” than the first day of the 2006 World Cup.
Meanwhile, if the United States can advance out of Group C, the likelihood of a match against Germany could generate an ever larger TV rating.