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.