One last huge turnout for the World Cup
Germany-Argentina final averages 26.5 million total viewers
July 15, 2014
ESPN/ABC and Univision wrapped up a record World Cup with more record-breaking ratings.
The final Sunday afternoon between Germany and Argentina, which went to extra time before Germany prevailed with a 1-0 victory, became the most-watched men’s World Cup final ever in the U.S.
The game averaged 26.5 million total viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen.
That included 17.3 million viewers on ABC, up 1.8 million, or 12 percent, over the 2010 final between the Netherlands and Spain.
It was the third-most-watched soccer match in U.S. history on English-language TV, behind only the U.S-Portugal first-round match a few weeks ago, which drew 18.3 million viewers, and the 1999 Women’s World Cup final, which tallied 17.98 million viewers.
On Univision the game averaged 9.2 million total viewers, also an all-time best for a final and up 4 percent over 2010. The Spanish-language network’s viewership included 5 million adults 18-49.
Viewership online was very strong as well. Germany-Argentina drew 1.8 million unique viewers, including an average audience of 675,000 per minute, on the WatchESPN app.
The strong showing for the championship capped a big tournament for both networks, sparked in part by strong performances by the U.S. and Mexican teams, both of which made the round of 16. The Mexican team is very popular with Univision viewers.
ESPN averaged 4.6 million total viewers for all 64 matches, up an impressive 39 percent over 2010.
And Univision grew 34 percent among total viewers and 21 percent among 18-49s.
Some of the gains certainly had to do with more favorable timing, as the 2010 World Cup aired in South Africa, and many matches started early in the morning and weren’t as conducive to live viewing for Americans during their workdays as they were for this World Cup, which took place in Brazil.
But there’s also an argument to be made for growing American affection for soccer following decades of indifference.
The U.S. has a rising Hispanic population, and soccer is huge in Central and South America.
Soccer also has become a very popular youth sport over the past few decades, meaning more and more adults are familiar with the game, whether they played themselves as kids or their own children have played.
Plus, it always helps when the U.S. team does well. The squad advanced to the round of 16 and lost in extra time to Belgium.
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