In a thrilling debut in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, team USA pulled off a victory against Ghana on Monday, and with it, ESPN hit television ratings gold. The 2-1 victory for the U.S.
Monday drew averaged a 6.3 US HH rating and 11,093,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed men’s soccer match – including 265 from the FIFA World Cup – on ESPN or ESPN2 on record, according to the Nielsen Company. ESPN said that it was the highest overnight rating ever for a men’s World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2.
A single national ratings point represents one percent of the total number, or 1,156,000 households for the 2013–14 season
Of the top five metered markets Washington, D.C. led the pack with an 11.8 rating, followed by New York (10.2), Hartford-New Haven (10.1) and Boston (10.0) at a 10.0 rating or higher. The remaining top 10: Columbus, Ohio (8.9), Baltimore (8.7), Providence (8.4), Orlando (8.3), San Francisco (8.0) and Norfolk (7.8). According to ESPN, the Boston rating number is the highest overnight ever in the market on any network for the men’s World Cup.
Leading up to Monday’s play, ESPN reported that four of the seven games televised on ESPN or ESPN2 are the networks’ most-viewed Group Play games not involving a United States team (212 games since 1994). While WatchESPN, the network’s streaming-media offering had posted a 157 percent increase in viewers and 170 percent in minutes through the first 11 games, averaging 643,000 viewers and 27,100,000 minutes viewed per match.
For mobile ESPN’s SportsCenter app was averaging 4,200,000 daily unique visitors leading up to Monday, or a 447 percent increase over 2010.
For those wondering how much interest there was outside the U.S. as it relates to the game, according to data from GeoPoll, a mobile survey platform measuring TV ratings and audience share around the world, the game between Ghana and the United States on Monday attracted 2.4 million adult Ghanaian viewers. The match aired at 10pm local time in the African country, meaning it was likely that the game would have garnered higher numbers should it have aired earlier in the evening.
Other ESPN ratings highlights included:
The U.S.A. vs Ghana match also garnered a 469,000 average minute audience on WatchESPN, which set a product record for an event which had a total of 1,400,000 viewers and 62,400,000 minutes viewed for the contest.
U.S.A. vs. Ghana is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed telecast since January 6 when its BCS National Championship coverage averaged a 14.4 US HH rating and 25,572,000 viewers (the third largest audience in cable history).
In addition to its record audience for USA vs. Ghana, WatchESPN generated its second best event ever in unique viewers for Monday’s Germany vs. Portugal contest with 1,100,000 viewers.