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USA's World Cup win attracts largest TV audience for soccer in history

Abby Wambach #20 of the United States celebrates

Abby Wambach #20 of the United States celebrates with teammates in the 5-2 victory against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. Credit: Getty Images / Dennis Grombkowski

The United States' 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday in the final of the Women's World Cup attracted the largest audience in the history of American television for a soccer game -- men's or women's.

An average of 25.4 million watched on Fox -- by far a record for English-language soccer coverage -- and another 1.3 million watched in Spanish on Telemundo.

The combined 26.7 million viewers surpassed the 26.5 million who watched on ABC and Univision last year when Germany defeated Argentina in the men's World Cup final.

The size of the audience Sunday was particularly impressive because the game was an early blowout, with Team USA taking a 4-0 lead in the first half. Closer games usually generate higher ratings.

Fox's coverage peaked at 30.9 million from 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. Eastern time, and the network said 43.2 million watched at least part of the game.

The previous high for a women's soccer game on English-language American TV was 17.98 million for the Americans' most recent World Cup final victory, in 1999.

That game now ranks third for English-language coverage of a soccer game in the United States. Second place belongs to last year's U.S. vs. Portugal men's game in the World Cup group stage, at 18.2 million.

Sunday's game averaged more viewers than the final games of the most recent NBA Finals (23.3 million for Game 6) and World Series (23.5 million for Game 7).

Kansas City was the highest-ranked market for Sunday's game with 20.6 percent of homes tuned in. New York ranked 19th among the 56 markets measured at 15.6 percent.

From 8:45 to 9 p.m. EDT, , 31 percent of homes in major American markets with a television in use were watching women's soccer.


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