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ABC Scores Solid Rating for U.S.-England World Cup Match

NEW YORK: ABC logged a 7.3 rating for the World Cup soccer match between the United Stations and England on Saturday, a two-hour affair introducing millions of Americans to the melodious instrument known as the “vuvuzela.”

The game ended in a 1-1 draw having attracted around 13 million U.S. viewers for ABC, making it the network’s fifth most-watched soccer game. Around 3.8 million watched Univision’s Spanish-language broadcast, according to mainstream media outlets notified by the networks.

San Diego, Calif., was the top U.S. market for the English-language broadcast, with an 11.5 Nielsen household rating. The city also had the most viewers in the United States for the entire 2006 World Cup series. San Francisco was next, followed by Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.

The Friday match between Mexico and South Africa drew about 5.4 million viewers to Univision and 2.9 million to ESPN, The Wall Street Journalsaid. The first five matches averaged around 8.1 million viewers for English- and Spanish-language broadcasts combined, up from 4.5 million in 2006. WSJ noted that the numbers don’t include out-of-home viewing, which likely was substantial given the popularity of major sporting events at public houses.

In the United Kingdom, the Mexico-South African match drew 4.3 million viewers on ITV, The Guardian said. The network’s coverage of the U.S.-England match wasn’t mentioned. EPLTalk, a site covering the English Premiere League, said IPTV goofed and ran a promo just as England made its only goal. (EPLTalk has a video clip of the coverage.)

The World Cup matches will continue through July 11, likely with constant accompaniment from the plastic, single-note droning horns. Discovery News probes the technical annoyance factor of the vuvuzela.

-- Deborah D. McAdams, (Image by South AfricanTourism)