U.S. World Cup watch­ers set tele­vi­sion records

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK — World Cup tele­vi­sion view­er­ship rose 41 per­cent over four years ago for English-lan­guage tele­casts in the United States, with Spain’s 1-0 over­time vic­tory over the Nether­lands set­ting a record for a men’s soc­cer game.

Sun­day’s game was seen by 15,545,000 view­ers on ABC. The pre­vi­ous high was 14,863,000 for the USA’s 2-1 over­time loss to Ghana on June 26.

An ad­di­tional 8,821,000 mil­lion view­ers watched Span­ish-lan­guage cov­er­age Sun­day on Univi­sion, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen Me­dia Re­search, bring­ing the to­tal to nearly 24.4 mil­lion.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 av­er­aged a 2.1 rat­ing and 3,261,000 view­ers for the 64 World Cup games. The rat­ing was up 31 per­cent from four years ago.

The in­creases had been higher while the U.S. re­mained in the tour­na­ment. Through the first 50 games, the rat­ing was up 48 per­cent and view­ers rose 60 per­cent.

“The TV rat­ing is only a lit­tle piece of the story,’’ John Skip­per, ESPN’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of con­tent, said Mon­day. “One of ev­ery three peo­ple watched on some­thing other than the tele­vi­sion at their home, ei­ther watched in a bar, or on their phone, or in their of­fice on a com­puter.”

Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup, and many of those games will be on live in prime time in the United States, not morn­ings and early af­ter­noons like the South Africa games.

The only Cup game with more U.S. English-lan­guage view­ers than for Spain’s win Sun­day was the 1999 women’s fi­nal at the Rose Bowl, when the USA beat China, a game seen by 17,975,000 peo­ple.

Sun­day’s match re­ceived an 8.1 rat­ing on ABC, up 6 per­cent from the 7.7 for Italy’s penalty-kicks win over France in the 2006 fi­nal. This was the fourth­high­est rat­ing for a men’s World Cup game.

San Diego, San Fran­cisco and Mi­ami were the top-rated mar­kets.

View­er­ship for the fi­nal on Univi­sion was up 49 per­cent from 2006. Sun­day’s game was the third most-watched pro­gram on U.S. Span­ish-lan­guage TV, trail­ing Ar­gentina’s win over Mex­ico on June 27 (9,405,000) and the fi­nale of the novella “Desti­lando Amor (Essence of Love)” on Dec. 3, 2007 (9,018,000).

Spain has a big party

MADRID — Spain erupted with its biggest fi­esta in me­mory Mon­day when its foot­ball team re­turned to a ju­bi­lant nation af­ter win­ning the World Cup, giv­ing elated Spa­niards a break from months of eco­nomic gloom and po­lit­i­cal squab­bling.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple jammed Madrid’s his­toric av­enues as an open air bus fer­ried the na­tional team down stately av­enues to cheers from Spa­niards decked out in a sea of red and yel­low, the col­ors of the Span­ish flag.

The cel­e­bra­tion in Madrid, where na­tional unity is at its strong­est, was ex­pected.

But there were strik­ing ex­am­ples of sup­port from un­likely places: The well-off Cat­alo­nia re­gion, which has long sought greater au­ton­omy, and the sep­a­ratist Basque re­gion, where any­thing pro-Spain is of­ten shunned.

At­ten­dance ranks No. 3

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — The over­all at­ten­dance at the World Cup of 3.18 mil­lion was the third-high­est in his­tory, be­hind the 1994 tour­na­ment in the United States and the last World Cup in Ger­many. The av­er­age at­ten­dance was 49,670. The record is the ’94 Cup in the USA with an av­er­age of 68,991.

Vic­tor R. Caivano

Span­ish fans cheer as their World Cup-win­ning team pa­rades through the streets of Madrid on Mon­day. Spain beat the Nether­lands 1-0 on Sun­day in the Cup fi­nal.

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