Viewership soared by nearly 50% for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on the ESPN family of networks.
The 64-match World Cup averaged a 2.1 U.S. rating and 3.261 million viewers on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, up 31% in ratings and 41% in viewership from 2006 (1.6, 2.316 mil), and the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV.
The World Cup concluded with an 8.1 fast-national rating and 15.545 million viewers for Sunday’s Spain/Netherlands final.
Overall, ESPN/ABC World Cup coverage topped 10.0 million viewers on three separate occasions — USA/England on June 12 (13.130 mil), Ghana/USA on June 26 (15.193 mil) and Sunday’s match.
Of course, the 3.261 million viewers for ESPN/ABC does not factor in Univision.
To put the ESPN/ABC numbers in perspective, ESPN averaged 4.596 million viewers for the 2010 NBA Playoffs (ABC averaged 10.970 million for its 16-game coverage), and 4.311 million for its coverage of 2009-10 college football bowl games (ABC averaged 22.179 million for its three games).
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale was the top market for World Cup coverage, with a 3.9 rating, followed by New York (3.6), Washington, D.C. (3.6), San Diego (3.5), and San Francisco (3.5).