ESPN draws strong audience for late-night USA-Panama game

By Paul Kennedy and Ridge Mahoney

The USA-Panama game on ESPN was the network's second most-watched and second highest-rated World Cup qualifying or international friendly match ever, behind only the Mexico-USA match in March.

The USA-Panama in Seattle was seen by an average of 1.436 million viewers and drew a 0.8 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen Media.
Mexico-USA game delivered the record average audience with 2.385 million viewers and a 1.4 household U.S. rating on ESPN.
San Diego was the top market for the match telecast, delivering a 2.5 rating.  Rounding out the top five were: Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. (2.5), Baltimore (2.1), Hartford-New Haven, Conn., (1.9), and Nashville (1.9).

The USA-Panama game averaged an additional 1.2 million viewers on Spanish-language UniMas -- which means an average of more than 2.6 million viewers tuned in for the USA-Panama game, which kicked off past 10 p.m. ET.

The Mexico-Costa Rica game from Mexico City averaged 2.8 million viewers on UniMas.

By comparison, Game 3 of the NBC finals -- a Spurs blowout -- averaged 12.79 million viewers.

COSMOS ON ONE WORLD SPORTS. During the heyday of the old North American Soccer League, a Cosmos game was by far the most valuable television property.

A new era, a different NASL, and a more modest version of the Cosmos has scaled down the club’s stature. But it does have a TV outlet. Seven home games, starting Aug. 3, will be aired on ONE World Sports.

“We’re excited to be able to put our games on air and increase the viewing options for our fans,” Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover said.

The team has not shirked with its on-air talent. Veteran play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera will call the games with former Cosmos keeper Shep Messing. The ONE World Sports network is available on DISH, Cablevision’s Optimum TV and Mediacom, and is negotiating deals with other carriers. The team is discussing distribution of road games with various outlets, including ONE World Sports.

“Our goal is to provide viewers a very unique perspective into the action on the pitch with an enhanced state of the art production,” said ONE World president Alexander “Sandy” Brown.
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