The U.S.-Portugal game, which that ended in a 2-2 draw, drew 18.2 million viewers for ESPN and another 6.5 million on Univision drew 6.5 million. That means 24.7 million on average tuned into USA-Portugal, tying the record for most watched football game in U.S. history.
The 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands was also reportedly watched by 24.7 million US viewers.
The game, which scored a 9.6 rating on ESPN, was ESPN’s most viewed program in history other than NFL or college football telecasts. It was easily the highest-rated World Cup match ever on ESPN, and tops the 6.3 rating (which ended up working out to 11.1 million viewers) for USA-Ghana.
The previous high for a football game in English in the U.S. was 17.98 miilion for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and China. That game was on ABC.
The previous English-language record for a U.S. men’s national team game was held by the 2010 United States vs. Ghana World Cup Round of 16 game, which drew 15.193 million viewers on ABC.
While not near the totals scored by the N.F.L. playoffs or, certainly, the Super Bowl, the American audience for the World Cup game on Sunday easily eclipsed the N.B.A. finals this year, which averaged 15.5 million viewers. The 2013 World Series averaged 14.9 million viewers. The N.H.L. playoffs only averaged five million viewers this season.
Univision’s broadcast average of 6.5 million viewers obliterated the network’s previous U.S. national team viewership record of 4.8 million viewers for the U.S.-Ghana game on June 16. It also was just 300,000 viewers below the 6.8 million who watched Mexico’s blockbuster draw against Brazil on June 17. That game set a new Univision record for all-time World Cup group stage viewership.
For ESPN, top markets and rating for U.S.-Portugal:
1.Washington, D.C. 13.3
2. Columbus, Ohio 12.6
3. New York 12.5
4. Boston 11.5
5. Hartford/New Haven 11.3
6. Providence 11.2
7. Atlanta 11.1
8. Baltimore 11.0
9. Norfolk 10.5
10. Orlando 10.5
11. Sacramento 10.5
12. Kansas City 10.1
13. Dayton, Ohio, 8.9
14. St. Louis 8.7
15. Jacksonville, Fla., 8.4
[Source: SportsOne Source Media]