WC Final Breaks US Viewership Records

Deciding match was the most watched soccer match in US television history

NEW YORK -- If you thought the TV records set by the 2010 World Cup would come to an end after the US National Team was eliminated, think again.

Sunday’s World Cup final, televised by ABC and Univisión, was the most watched soccer match in US television history. A total of 24.3 million viewers (15.5 million on ABC and 8.8 million on Univisión) tuned in to watch Spain defeat Holland to capture their first ever World Cup.

In fact, the Netherlands vs. Spain match garnered more viewers than did the deciding games of both the 2009 World Series between the Yankees and Phillies (22.3 million) and the 2010 Stanly Cup Finals (8.28 million). The numbers are also comparable to the 28.2 million pulled by Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals between the LA Lakers and Boson Celtics.

The top three most watched soccer matches in US television history (combined English and Spanish-language broadcasts) are:

#1 – Netherlands vs. Spain, 2010 World Cup Final = 24.3 million viewers

#2 – USA vs. Ghana, 2010 World Cup Round of 16 = 19.4 million viewers

#3 – Brazil vs. Italy, 1994 World Cup Final = 18.1 million viewers

The 15.5 million viewers that tuned in to watch the 2010 World Cup Final on ABC were the most for any men’s soccer match in US television history, besting USA vs. Ghana (14.9 million). The audience of 8.8 million on Univisión proved to be the second largest audience ever for a soccer match on Spanish-language television, trailing the Round of 16 match-up in the same World Cup between Argentina and Mexico (9.4 million).

The 64 matches of the 2010 World Cup registered an average audience on ABC/ESPN that was 41 percent higher compared to the tournament held four years ago in Germany, while Univisión scored a 15 percent increase from 2006.