USA-Ghana: A new milestone in US football

Hi all,
Since the mid 90’s football (yes football) in the US is growing. The World Cup held on the North American soil for the first time in 1994, following by the new League business model, world class players performing in the Major League Soccer, and the bidding for the  2018-2022 World Cup organisation are significant elements that The US is positioning itself more and more as a credible football nation.

Another element to consider, is the increasing american audience appeal to football. The Ghana – USA game counted 19.4 million US viewers, the best US audience ever after the Brazil – Italy World Cup Final in 1994.

Indeed, according to Nielsen Wire, The record viewership, which includes audiences watching on ABC and Univision, surpassed the previous high of 18.1 million viewers who watched the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy.

Most Watched Football Games in the U.S.
Rank Date Game Network(s) Viewers
1 6/26/2010 USA-Ghana ABC/Univision 19.4 million
2 7/17/1994 Brazil-Italy ABC/Univision 18.1 million
3 7/10/1999 USA-China (women) ABC 18.0 million
4 6/12/2010 USA-England ABC/Univision 17.1 million
5 7/09/2006 Italy-France ABC/Univision 17.0 million

This is another major milestone for Don Garber and his crew. Their strong focus is to make football one of the most popular sport in the US, and they are on the right track to succeed. The US World Cup viewers have been increasing and the comparaison to the previous World Cup is worth pointing out.

As the Nielsen Wire survey shows, the average American TV audience for the first three games played by Team USA are up 68% in 2010 compared to the same point during the 2006 World Cup.

An average of 11.1 million viewers caught the English and Spanish language broadcasts for each of USA’s three Group C matchups in this year’s World Cup. In 2006, USA’s three group stage games averaged 6.6 million viewers.

“These ratings demonstrate the remarkable increase of interest in U.S. soccer over the last four years,” said Stephen Master, VP of sports at Nielsen. “The numbers are even more impressive when you consider that two of these games were played on weekday mornings, when many viewers are at work. Although more people than ever chose to watch live streaming video of the games from their computers and mobile devices, TV viewing climbed even higher.”

As a point of reference, the 2010 NBA Finals reached 18.1 million viewers, average per game is another element to add to the mix.

I do not have a crystal ball, and have no idea what the future brings. However, seeing how the US  football audience is increasing, the major investment made and the dedication to having the World Cup organised in the US for 2018-2022, it can be said that the US are taking football with great interest and this is fantastic.

I remember a couple of months before World Cup 1994 kicks off in the US. I was a student in France, and a statistic came up showing that 1 American out of 2 had no idea that the World Cup was going to happen soon. 16 years later, the change is mindblowing.

Karl Lusbec

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