By Paul Kennedy
The Mexico-USA match drew an average of almost 7 million viewers on ESPN and UniMas, where it set a viewing record.
The 2.39 million viewers on ESPN was the largest television audience for a World Cup qualifier on an ESPN network, according to Nielsen Media.
The Mexico-USA rating ranked second among adults 18-49 for original cable programming on Tuesday, though reruns dominate cable. The total average viewers for Mexico-USA ranked only 19th on cable.
An average of 4.58 million viewers watched the 0-0 tie on UniMas, making it the most-watched telecast to date on the Univision-owned network.
UniMas beat Univision Network and Telemundo as the No. 1 Spanish-language broadcast network during the time period in half of the country’s top 10 markets (Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Houston).
A key demographic for soccer is adults 18-34, and Mexico-USA on UniMas ranked as the No. 3 primetime program in that age group on all of television Tuesday night.
-- Birmingham, Ala., was the top ESPN market for the match telecast, delivering a 2.9 rating. It was followed by Austin, Texas (2.6), Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., and Columbus, Ohio (both 2.4) and Los Angeles, San Diego, Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (all 2.3).
Five Most-Viewed Qualifiers or Friendlies on ESPN:
AUDIENCE MATCH DATE (NETWORK)
2,385,000 Mexico vs. USA 2013 qualifier (ESPN)
1,191,000 USA vs. Mexico 2009 qualifier (ESPN2)
1,128,000 USA vs. Brazil 2012 friendly (ESPN2)
1,091,000 USA vs. Mexico 2007 friendly (ESPN2)
1,090,000 USA vs. Costa Rica 2009 qualifier (ESPN2)
MEXICO-USA DIGITAL. Fans followed the Mexico-USA match live via ESPNFC Match HQ and ESPNdeportes.com Gamecast online, spending a total of 1.3 million minutes. Viewers via WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox also logged the highest total live minutes for any World Cup qualifying match this past week, generating 3.4 million minutes across platforms.
USA-COSTA VIEWERS. Viewership figures are in for Friday's USA-Costa Rica match: 857,000 viewers on ESPN and 1.09 million viewers on UniMas.
REPORT: SPORTING NEWS SOCCER WRITER FIRED. The Big Lead reported that soccer writer Brian Straus, whose article on U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann examined players' concerns about his methods and tactics on the eve of the USA-Costa Rica match, was among a dozen or so writers and editors fired by Sporting News on Wednesday.
Straus, a former Soccer America correspondent, wrote for Fanhouse and was laid off and then hired as the Sporting News' first soccer writer when it purchased Fanhouse from AOL in 2011. This second layoff was not believed to have had anything to do with his recent article.
Sporting News was founded in 1886 and known as the bible of baseball for many years. It switched to a biweekly publishing schedule in 2008, went monthly in 2011 and ceased publishing a print edition at the end of last year. It is now a web-only operation.
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