The 2010 World Cup has exploded on US television with record ratings. During the first weekend, the audience numbers for the first five games for the 2010 World Cup on ESPN were twice as high as those from four years ago during the 2006 World Cup. And now, during the second weekend, Univision is reporting that their broadcast of Mexico against France was the largest audience for a World Cup match on its network. Not only that, but ESPN is reporting that the United States against Slovenia match was ESPN’s third most-watched soccer telecast of all time.
Thursday’s Mexico against France game on Univision drew 5.8 million viewers. When combined with ESPN’s audience number for that game, the total viewing audience was approximately 8 million. Thursday’s 5.8 million audience on Univision topped the previous Univision record of 5.4 million for the game between Mexico and South Africa that opened the 2010 World Cup.
So far, through Thursday, Univision is averaging 2.3 million viewers for the 2010 World Cup, up 13% from 2006.
Meanwhile, Friday’s United States’ 2-2 draw with Slovenia drew 5.2 million viewers. Only Germany vs Italy in 2006 (5.85 million) and United States vs Germany in 2002 (5.3 million) drew more viewers. During the 2006 World Cup, US vs Czech Republic drew 3.8 million viewers on ESPN2 and USA vs Ghana drew 2.8 million on ESPN.
Friday’s match also ranks as the most-viewed soccer telecast ever on ESPN in households (3.9 million).
San Diego led all markets with an 8.5 rating for the match, followed by Washington, D.C. (6.4), Miami (6.2), West Palm Beach (5.9) and San Francisco (5.7).
Through Friday, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC are averaging a 1.9 U.S. rating and 2.95 million viewers for coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, up 60% and 71%, respectively, from 2006 (1.2, 1.7 mil).
At this rate, don’t be surprised if June and July of 2010 is remembered, in the future, as “the summer of soccer” especially when you consider the fact that both the France against Mexico and United States versus Slovenia games were shown on weekdays. Imagine if those games had been played on a weekend!