ESPN executives promised before the World Cup the network’s enthusiasm would not be diminished by the fact Fox will take over for 2018 and ’22. They delivered.
The Worldwide Leader did an excellent job with the worldwide spectacle, and blessed with a favorable time zone, exciting games and an intriguing American team, the ratings were strong – both on ESPN and Univision, the Spanish-language outlet in the U.S.
Sunday’s Germany-Argentina final attracted an average of 17.3 million viewers on ABC and 9.2 million on Univision for a total of 26.5 million, surpassing the 24.7 million for the 2010 final.
Overall, the 64 games in the tournament averaged a record 4.6 million viewers on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, with an average 2.8 percent of households tuned in.
New York, which usually lags in sports ratings, ranked second overall for the World Cup on English-language TV with an average of 4.6 percent of homes, behind only Washington, D.C. (4.9).
San Francisco was third at 4.4, followed by Los Angeles and San Diego, both at 4.0.