The combined 19.4 million viewers for Saturday's USA-Ghana game were comparable to the average for the six games for last year's baseball World Series on Fox. The difference: USA-Ghana was aired in the morning, and the World Series was broadcast in prime time.
“That’s phenomenal,” said Stephen Master, the vice president for sports at the Nielsen Company. “If the U.S. had kept going, to the quarters and semifinal, you would have gotten really big numbers.”
John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, says the World Cup viewership exceeded expectations and will only grow. “This is a good, sound financial proposition for us,” he said. “We have the 2014 rights in Brazil, at a favorable time that gives us a favorable financial opportunity.”