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OFFICIAL: Records tumble as football finally goes TV mainstream in America


By  Nick Harris

30 June 2010

With all the ratings data now available from the USA’s weekend defeat to Ghana, it has been confirmed that the match was the most-watched football game in American TV history. It drew an average audience of 19.4m, with almost 15m watching on ABC (a figure known soon afterwards), plus 4.5m on the Spanish-language Univision channel, figures now confirmed.

The previous record was the 18m people who watched the US Women’s 1999 World Cup win over China, followed by the 14.5m viewers in the USA for the 1994 Italy v Brazil World Cup final, and then the 13.7m viewers for USA v Brazil in the round of 16 in 1994. Significantly, in ratings terms, all those games were held on US soil. Some of the numbers in the USA for other games in South Africa have also been extraordinary.

Argentina’s win over Mexico on Univision was the most-watched programme (not just sport) in history on any Spanish-language network in the USA. It was watched by 9.4m on Univision and another 5.5m on ESPN. “It’s very indicative of the changing face of America and consequently the growth of soccer in the United States,” said Cesar Conde, Univision’s president. “That’s a great trend on both fronts.”


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