U.S.-Portugal Thriller Highest-Rated World Cup Match Ever on ESPN

U.S.-Portugal Thriller Highest-Rated World Cup Match Ever on ESPN

The U.S. men’s soccer team’s heartbreaking 2-2 draw against Portugal in the Amazon jungle on Sunday night was the highest-rated World Cup broadcast ever on ESPN.

The match averaged a 9.1 overnight rating, which, according to Nielsen, beat the previous record for ESPN that was set in the U.S.’s thrilling 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday. That game drew a 7.0 rating. 

The top-10 metered markets were:

Washington, DC (13.3), Columbus, Ohio (12.6), New York (12.5), Boston (11.5), Hartford & New Haven (11.3), Providence (11.2), Atlanta (11.1), Baltimore (11.0), Norfolk (10.5), and Orlando (10.5). 

Clint Dempsey chested in a goal to give the United States a 2-1 lead with about ten minutes to play. But just when American soccer fans were about to say “What group of death?” Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo sent a cross into the box in the fifth and last minute of extra time. With three U.S. defenders around him, Portugal’s Silvestre Varela headed home the equalizer past goalie Tim Howard to keep Portugal alive, albeit barely, in the tournament and stun the Americans.

The United States plays Germany on Thursday in the final game in group play. The U.S. will advance to the knockout stage with a win or a tie or if they have a better goal differential than either Ghana or Portugal.