The 2010 FIFA World Cup Final averaged more than 24 million watchers on ABC and Univision, the most ever for a soccer match in this nation, according to Nielsen.
According to fast nationals data from Nielsen, ABC scored over 15.5 million watchers during the match window from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) on July 11, while Univision netted 8.8 million to rank as the third-most-watched show in the history of Spanish-language television in the U.S.
The combined average audience of 24.3 million surpasses the record of 19.4 million viewers that tuned in to the U.S.-Ghana match in their round of 16 encounter on June 26 in South Africa.
Univision's coverage of Spain's 1-0 extra-time triumph over The Netherlands outdelivered the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France by 49%, compared with 5.9 million watchers for the Azzuri's penalty-kick win in Germany.
Spain-Holland ranked as the third-most-watched telecast in the history of Spanish-language TV in this nation behind the 9.41 million for the round of 16 game between Mexico-Argentina on June 27 and the finale of novella Destilando Amor (Essence of Love), which drew 9.02 million on Dec. 3, 2007.
Based on fast nationals, ABC's telecast posted an 8.1 household rating, 9. 39 million households and 15.55 million viewers for the two-hour game window. The performance was the second best ever in this nation among households and viewers, behind only the 11.3 million and 17.9 million for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, when the U.S. topped China on penalties from the Rose Bowl.
The July 11 telecast ranks as the fourth highest-rated men's World Cup game on record, behind the 1994 Italy-Brazil Final (9.5 rating), the 1994 U.S.-Brazil round of 16 match (9.3), and the 2010 U.S.-Ghana Round of 16 game (8.5).
Sunday's title game also ranks behind the 1999 Women's World Cup Final, which delivered an 11.4 rating.
The 8.1 rating for Netherlands-Spain represented a 6% increase from the 7.7 mark for 2006 Italy-France Final, excluding pre- and post-game coverage.
Most Watched Soccer Games in the U.S.
Rank Date Game Network(s) Viewers
1 7/11/2010 Spain-Netherlands ABC/Univision 24.3 million
2 6/26/2010 USA-Ghana ABC/Univision 19.4 million
3 7/17/1994 Brazil-Italy ABC/Univision 18.1 million
4 7/10/1999 USA-China (women) ABC 18.0 million
5 6/12/2010 USA-England ABC/Univision 17.1 million