ESPN and Univision are scoring big World Cup ratings

US goalkeeper Tim Howard made plenty of saves in the World Cup match against Belgium, but ESPN's ratings needed no rescuing.

The United States team's 2-1 loss in extra time to Belgium drew an average of 16.5 million viewers to ESPN, making it the third-most-viewed soccer telecast ever in the US. The US team’s 2-1 loss in extra time to Belgium drew an average of 16.5 million viewers to ESPN, making it the third most-viewed soccer telecast ever in the US.

That's an impressive feat for the Disney-owned cable sports network, particularly considering that many of the US fans were still at work during the game that started at 1 p.m. on the West Coast.

The viewership levels came in behind only the 18.2 million who watched Team USA's tie with Portugal on June 22 and the nearly 18 million who saw the US women's team defeat China in 1999.

The US viewership total climbs when adding viewers for the Spanish-language network Univision. An average of 5.1 million people tuned in to Univision's coverage of the match, bringing the total to 21.6 million. The combined viewership on ESPN and Univision for the US match against Portugal was nearly 25 million.


ESPN and Univision are scoring big World Cup ratings