U.S. World Cup watchers set television records
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.
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.