Ratings Roundup: ABC, ESPN See Huge Ratings Boost for World Cup Round of 16

Despite the USA’s loss to Ghana, the Round of 16 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup has given ESPN and ABC a huge ratings boost, averaging a 3.1 U.S. rating and 5.042 million viewers. The World Cup as a whole has averaged a 1.8 rating and 2.835 million viewers.

ABC’s coverage of the USA-Ghana game on Saturday, June 26, garnered an 8.5 rating and 15.193 million viewers, making it the most viewed Men’s World Cup match of all time and the 15th-most viewed sports telecast of the year.

ABC also posted solid numbers for the Argentina-Mexico game on Sunday, June 27. The match notched a 3.4 rating and 5.554 million viewers, making it the most viewed non-USA match of the 2010 World Cup.

The 2010 World Cup is an undeniable hit with TV audiences this year, reaching an estimated 34% of all U.S. TV viewers in either English or Spanish telecasts. However, markets with high Spanish-speaking populations like Miami are seeing even higher numbers.

Viewers in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market are watching the World Cup more than any other market in the country. Through Tuesday, Miami has the highest ratings for both English language (3.6 HH rating) and Spanish language (5.2 HH rating) World Cup telecasts. In addition, out of the 18 cities selected for inclusion in the USA bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, Miami was this week the first city out to surpass 50,000 signatures. To see Nielsen’s full rundown of the top English and Spanish speaking markets for the World Cup, Click here.

While ESPN has seen huge success with the World Cup, the College World Series, long a network staple, experienced huge ratings declines last week. South Carolina’s championship-clinching win over UCLA (1.2 ratings, 1.853 million viewers) was down 29% from 2009’s Texas-LSU Game 2 (2.2620 million viewers). In addition, Game 1 of the CWS posted a 0.8 rating and 1.192 million viewers), a steep decline of 52% from Game 1 last year (2.5 million viewers).
The first day of the 2010 NHL Draft drew a 0.1 U.S. rating and 202,000 viewers on Versus June 25. Coverage of the Draft was outdrawn head-to-head by Tigers/Braves on MLB Network (0.2, 303,000 viewers), which included coverage of Diamondbacks pitcher Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter against the Rays.