ESPN’s Tuesday telecast of the USA’s gut-wrenching 2-1 loss in extra time to Belgium in the World Cup’s Round of 16 was the highest rated World Cup match in the network’s history.
According to Nielsen, the game drew a 9.6 overnight rating, and “ESPN’s television coverage peaked from 5:45 – 6 p.m. ET with a 14.1.” WatchESPN’s streaming service peaked at 1.5 million concurrent viewers.
According to ESPN, “including yesterday’s record audience, ESPN has posted its six highest metered market ratings for the men’s World Cup during the 2014 event.” The top-10 metered markets were:
New York (15.0), Hartford/New Haven (13.2), Washington, D.C., (12.8), Richmond (12.3), Boston (12.2), West Palm Beach (12.0), Baltimore (11.4), Cincinnati (11.4), San Diego (11.0), Columbus (10.8), Norfolk (10.8) and Orlando (10.8).
Only two college football games — the Rose Bowl and the BCS national title game — got higher ratings than the U.S. vs. Belgium match, which was not played on the weekend like most college football games:
Wow, the US World Cup game yesterday got a higher rating than any ’13 CFB game other than the Rose Bowl & national title game.
– Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 2, 2014