Sunday's riveting Women's World Cup final on ESPN averaged 8.6 percent of homes in major markets, which means when the final national numbers come in later Monday, it is certain to become by far the second-highest-rated WWC game ever on U.S. TV.
The top spot will continue to be held by the 1999 final, but that game was played on American soil at the Rose Bowl and was shown on ABC, a broadcast channel, both of which are ratings advantages.
Baltimore's 12.3 rating topped the 56 major markets; New York was 33rd with an 8.6, exactly matching the national average.
By any measure, the 2011 tournament in general and the U.S. women in particular were huge television successes.
And ESPN deserves credit for chronicling it all thoroughly and with a relative minimum U.S. flag-waving.
The whole world is watching
The six most-watched soccer games in English-language U.S. television history, all from World Cups:
|July 10, 1999||USA vs. China, women’s final||ABC||17.975|
|July 11, 2010||Netherlands vs. Spain, men’s final||ABC||15.905|
|June 26, 2010||USA vs. Ghana, men’s round of 16||ABC||15.193|
|July 17, 1994||Italy vs. Brazil, men’s final||ABC||14.510|
|July 4, 1994||Brazil vs. USA, men’s round of 16||ABC||13.694|
|July 17, 2011||USA vs. Japan, women’s final||ESPN||13.458|
* in millions