Netherlands-Spain Becomes Most Watched Men’s World Cup Game Ever

This from ESPN, the World Cup Final between the Netherlands and eventual champion Spain becomes the most watched Men’s World Cup game ever. ABC had a total of 15.5 million viewers and when you combine that with Univision’s 8.8 million viewers and you have a total of 24.3 million which is just amazing.

We have ESPN’s press release.

2010 World Cup Final on ABC: Most-Watched Men’s World Cup Game Ever
Netherlands-Spain Championship Match Earns 8.1 Rating and 15.5 Million Viewers
ESPN Networks Finish 2010 World Cup +31% in Ratings, +41% in Viewers Thru 64 Matches
Sunday’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Final on ABC – a 1-0 victory by Spain in extra time over the Netherlands – ranks as the most-watched Men’s World Cup game ever. Based on Fast Nationals from The Nielsen Company, ABC’s telecast delivered an 8.1 household rating, 9,389,000 households, and 15,545,000 viewers for the two-hour game window (2:30-5 p.m. ET). Only the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final (U.S.-China from the Rose Bowl) averaged more households and viewers for a soccer game – 11,307,000 and 17,975,000, respectively.
Additionally, the Final 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 game also ranks behind the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final, which delivered an 11.4 rating. The 8.1 for Netherlands-Spain is a 6% increase from the 2006 Italy-France Final (7.7 rating, excluding pre- and post-game coverage).
The top 10 metered markets for Sunday’s four-hour telecast (including pre- and post-match programming) were: San Francisco (14.7), San Diego (13.6), New York (13.1), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (12.0), Washington, D.C. (11.9), Los Angeles (11.3), Austin, Texas (10.4), Seattle-Tacoma (10.0), Cincinnati (9.5), and Boston (9.1).
ABC’s coverage of the Uruguay-Germany 3rd Place match on Saturday delivered a 3.1 rating, 3,532,000 households, and 5,045,000 viewers.
“The 2010 FIFA World Cup was an overwhelming success for ESPN,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. “We experienced record viewership across multiple platforms, including television, broadband, online and ESPN Audio, and it was evident from the overwhelmingly positive reaction just how much fans were drawn to the spectacle of this global sports event. We are already looking ahead with great anticipation to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.”
The 2010 World Cup ranks as the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV in the United States. In 64 matches, the ESPN networks (ESPN/ESPN2/ABC) averaged a 2.1 U.S. household rating, 2,288,000 households, and 3,261,000 viewers.  The rating is up 31% from 2006 (1.6), while household impressions are up 32% (from 1,735,000) and viewers are up 41% (from 2,316,000). The top-five markets for ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 World Cup are: Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (3.9), New York (3.6), Washington, D.C. (3.6), San Diego (3.5), and San Francisco (3.5).
Through the semifinals last week (62 matches), an estimated 105 million people tuned into ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2 during the 2010 World Cup, a 17% increase from the 90 million people who tuned into the World Cup on the three networks through the same point in 2006.


I’m trying to catch up after being at a jobsite earlier today and dealing with a house disaster.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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