USA-Ghana Marks Most-Watched Match Ever for U.S. Soccer

NEW YORK: An estimated 19.4 million U.S. viewers watched USA’s loss to Ghana on Saturday, making it the most watched soccer game ever in the United States, according to Nielsen data.

The record viewership, which included audiences watching on ABC and Univision, surpassed the previous high of 18.1 million viewers who watched the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy.

“This record viewership proves that soccer is as popular as it’s ever been in the United States,” said Stephen Master, vice president of sports at Nielsen. “Between the rise of social networking and virtually unlimited access to the sport no matter where it’s played in the world, this is the perfect environment for the game of soccer to thrive in the U.S.”

By comparison:
The 2009 World Series averaged 19.1 million viewers per game.
The 2010 NBA Finals averaged 18.1 million viewers per game.
The 2010 final round of the Masters averaged 16.7 million viewers; and
The 2010 Kentucky Derby averaged 16.5 million.

The first three games of the World Cup played by Team USA also set audience records, Nielsen said earlier. Viewership for those three games was up 68 percent compared to the same amount of coverage in 2006.

See“Team USA Draws Record Number of Viewers”