According to an article recently completed by The Boston Globe, the ratings for the United States-Portugal draw match drew in enough ratings to earn the game the title of most watched soccer match in the states. The match drew in a 9.6 household rating and averaged over eighteen million viewers on ESPN. Excluding events in college football or in the NFL, these statistics helped the game become the most watched program in ESPN history. To add to this success, another six and a half million viewers tuned in to watch the match on Univision.
The article notes that these statistics are only just the start. They do not take into consideration crowds that gathered to watch the game in restaurants, bars or at citywide gatherings, as those numbers are very difficult for Nielsen to estimate. According to Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated media columnist, the out-of-home viewership of the game could be as high as thirty million viewers. Knowing the out-of-home viewership could hold a very strong affect on the ratings, ESPN has recruited independent research firms to conclude this very information. The broadcaster first did this in the 2010 World Cup, with results adding twenty-three percent to the overall audience. If this statistic holds to be approximately same for this World Cup, Deitsch’s prediction of thirty million would be very nearly dead on. However, the findings of the research will not be available until after the 2014 World Cup has come to a close.
This lack of closure on the issue has prompted many analysts to speculate what pull future United States matches will have in the ratings market. Several speculate that it was the primetime timeslot of the United States-Portugal draw that drew in so many viewers and that expectations shouldn’t run rampant for future games, including the most recent match against Germany, which aired in the middle of the day. However, several believe that theme of unprecedented statistics, such as the nearly one and a half million viewers who tuned into the game via the WatchESPN app, can lead to only further ratings success for the United States team and ESPN.