Have Americans finally embraced the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA Men’s World Cup? It looks that way. Yesterday’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Final on ABC, in which Spain won over the Netherlands with an extra-time goal – was the most-watched Men’s World Cup game ever, drawing some 15.5 million viewers. It caps a great ratings showing for the tournament, highlighted by a Team USA’s memorable run, which now ranks as the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV in the United States. The 64 matches averaged 2.3 million viewers on ABC on ESPN, up 41% from the 2006 World Cup. Additionally, the final was also the most watched ever on Univision with 8.8 million viewers, up 49% from the 2006 final between Italy and France, to rank as the third most watched program in Univision’s history regardless of genre. That brings the total U.S. audience for the final to 24.3 million.
The final telecast on ABC also delivered an 8.1 household rating. Only the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S. and China drew more viewers for a soccer game – 18.0 million. In household rating, the final was the fourth highest-rated Men’s World Cup game on record, behind the 1994 Italy-Brazil Final (9.5), the 1994 U.S.-Brazil round of 16 match (9.3), and this year’s U.S.-Ghana epic (8.5). It represents a slight (6%) increase from the 2006 Italy-France Final.
Meanwhile, ABC’s coverage of the Uruguay-Germany 3rd Place match on Saturday averaged 5.0 million viewers, 3.5 million households and a 3.1 rating.