World Cup: ESPN Sets Semi Mark with Argentina, Holland

Net Tallies 6.8M Viewers; Univision Notches 5.4M

The second 2014 World Cup semifinal between Argentina and The Netherlands was much more competitive than its predecessor, with ESPN scoring its best-ever mark for the round, while Univision’s numbers came in just behind its presentation of Germany-Brazil the day before.

ESPN’s July 9 telecast of Argentina’s penalty kick win (pictured) over The Netherlands averaged a 4.3 household rating and 6.8 million viewers, its top semifinal deliveries ever, according to Nielsen data. Meanwhile, Univision/Univision Deportes’ simulcast averaged 5.4 million watchers, to trail only Tuesday’s contest in its World Cup semifinal Nielsen pantheon.

Together, the U.S. rights-holders averaged 12.2 million watchers on Wednesday afternoon, just behind their record 12.4 million viewers on July 8.

The worldwide leader’s presentation of Netherlands-Argentina surpassed the 4.2 rating and 6.6 million for Germany’s 7-1 demolition of the host Brazil on Tuesday. As such, the 2014 futbol event netted the top-two semifinal matches in the quadrennial tournament’s history in the U.S., with the pair of matches averaging a 4.2, up 56% from a 2.7 rating in 2010, and ahead 45% from a 2.9 during the 2006 competition, according to ESPN officials.

Additionally, the Dutch-Argentinian semifinal battle ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2 not involving the U.S. men’s national team.

Combined with the 5.8 million viewers for Germany-Brazil, including 2.9 million of the watchers Madison Avenue values most, Univision/UDN averaged 5.6 million watchers, including 2.7 million persons 18 to 49, with its 2014 semifinal telecasts.

Univision Deportes’ coverage bested the previous semifinal high set on July 7 and July 8, 2010 by 34% among viewers and 18% in the demo.