Soccer Ratings Soar 68% For U.S. Side At World Cup


The U.S. men's national team did well in its group and with American audiences at the 2010 FIFA World Cup from South Africa.
During its three matches in Group C, the U.S. team averaged 11.1 million viewers on ABC, ESPN and Univision, according to an analysis of Nielsen data, up 68% from the 6.6 million average for the corresponding trio of games at the 2006 World Cup from Germany. The viewing periods encompass the matches as well pre-game time slots, according to the measurement company.
The U.S. team's first match against England on Saturday June 12 garnered a combined 17.1 million watchers on ABC and Univision, while the second game, versus Slovenia on Friday June 18, recorded 7.5 million for ESPN and the Spanish-language service. The Wednesday June 23 game, in which Landon Donovan's added time goal pushed Sam's Army past Algeria 1-0 to win the group, was watched by 8.6 million on Univision and ESPN.
Four years ago at FIFA's famed futbol tourney, the U.S.-Czech Republic on June 12, 2006 pulled in 4.7 million for ESPN2/Univision, 9.8 million for U.S.-Italy on June 17, 2006 for ABC/Univision, and 5.5 million for U.S.-Ghana on June 22, 2006 for ESPN/Univision.
The U.S. squares off against Ghana in a round of 16 match on Saturday June 26 at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
"These ratings demonstrate the remarkable increase of interest in U.S. soccer over the last four years," said Stephen Master, vice president of sports at Nielsen, in a statement. "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."