Nearly 15 million viewers tune in, still fewer than the 1999 Women's World Cup Final
Saturday (June 26) afternoon's Round of 16 World Cup showdown between the United States and Ghana attracted a record audience for ABC. Unfortunately, the network and Team USA will be unable to follow up on that momentum, since Ghana delivered a 2-1 knockout blow in overtime.
The game attracted 14.9 million viewers to ABC, making it the most-watched men's game in FIFA World Cup history in the United States. That improved upon the 13.13 million viewers who watched the USA-England opener on June 12.
Notice the catch there? It's one you won't see very frequently. Saturday's World Cup action may have drawn a big audience, but it paled in comparison to the 17.97 million viewers averaged by the USA-China Finals in the 1999 Women's World Cup, the biggest US audience to ever watch a soccer game.
match also drew 4.5 million viewers to Univision, viewers who actually wanted emotion and passion with their in-game commentary, even if they didn't necessarily speak the language.
The ABC coverage of the game drew a 15.4 rating in Sand Diego, with a 13.8 rating in Washington, D.C. and a 13.3 rating in San Francisco.
Now, of course, ESPN and ABC face a World Cup without the United States or an English side which lost a controversial game to Germany on Sunday. Round of 16 elimination matches continue through Tuesday, June 29. The USA-free quarterfinal matches begin on Friday, July 2.