[TELEVISION WATCH] It comes as no surprise, given the hype and extensive promotional efforts surrounding the World Cup, that the early broadcasts on ESPN, ABC and Univision have drawn record ratings and viewerships.
The USA-England game on ABC was the most-viewed first-round game ever with a 7.3 household rating and 12,956,000 viewers, based on fast nationals. It was the fifth most watched game on ABC after the 1999 Women's World Cup final (18 million viewers), the 1994 World Cup final (14.5 million), the 1994 World Cup second-round match between the USA and Brazil (13.7 million) and 2006 World Cup final (12 million).
Through five matches, ESPN and ABC averaged 3,427,000 households and 4,937,000 viewers -- up 95% and 108%, respectively, vs. the first five games of the 2006 World Cup.
Univision attracted 5.4 million viewers for the opening game between Mexico and host South Africa on Friday. Amazingly, the opening game was Friday's most-viewed program in these key markets Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Sacramento.
Its average audience of 4.0 million for the two games on Friday nearly doubled its audience for the first two games four years ago.