Netherlands-Argentina: ESPN's Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed FIFA World Cup Semifinal Match
· ESPN Digital sets new record for non-U.S. match
ESPN's telecast of Wednesday's Netherlands vs. Argentina FIFA World Cup semifinal match - a 0-0 tie in which Argentina advanced to the Final past Netherlands in a penalty kick shootout at Arena de Sao Paulo - ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed World Cup semifinal match ever on any U.S. network, according to Nielsen. The match averaged a 4.3 U.S. household rating and 6,823,000 viewers.
Netherlands vs. Argentina surpassed the previous best World Cup semifinal - Brazil vs. Germany on Tuesday, July 8, which was seen by an average audience of 6,643,000 viewers based on a 4.2 rating. This World Cup in Brazil has produced the top-two semifinal matches in the quadrennial tournament, and the 2014 semifinals average of a 4.2 U.S. household rating is up 56 percent from a 2.7 rating in 2010, and up 45 percent from a 2.9 rating in 2006.
Additionally, the Netherlands vs. Argentina semifinal match ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2 not involving the U.S. Men's National Team.
Top 10 markets for Netherlands-Argentina: Baltimore (7.1), New York (7.0), Washington, DC (6.9), Hartford/New Haven (6.7), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (6.3), San Diego (6.3), San Francisco (6.1), Providence (5.8), Boston (5.3), and Columbus and Richmond/Petersburg (tied - 5.1).
Significant TV Viewership Increases Over 2010 and 2006
Through 62 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC are averaging 4,289,000 viewers and a 2.7 US household rating per match. The 2014 audience marks increases of 43 percent (vs. 2,989,000 in 2010) and 108 percent (2,060,000 in 2006) in viewers, and 42 percent (vs. 1.9 in 2010) and 93 percent (1.4 in 2006) in ratings. (Note: Ratings and viewership numbers are based on the specific match windows, not including pre-match studio coverage.)
To date, the highest-rated markets on the ESPN networks are: Washington, DC (4.7), New York (4.4), San Francisco (4.2), Los Angeles (3.8), San Diego (3.7), Hartford/New Haven (3.7), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (3.6), Orlando (3.6), Richmond/Petersburg (3.4) and West Palm Beach (3.4).
ESPN Digital sets new record for non-U.S. match
For the second time in as many days, WatchESPN established new highs for a non-U.S. team soccer match, as 2.4 million unique viewers watched Wednesday's Netherlands vs. Argentina semifinal for a total of 140 million minutes, providing a 12 percent lift to ESPN's English-language television viewership. Netherlands vs. Argentina surpassed Tuesday's Brazil vs. Germany semifinal, which had 2.1 million unique viewers and 90 million minutes viewed.
ESPNFC.com yesterday had 6.9 million video starts, up nearly 1,500% percent over the comparable day for World Cup 2010, while ESPN's SportsCenter app had 3.6 million unique users, a 445% percent gain from the comparable day in 2010.
2014 FIFA World Cup Coverage Concludes with Germany-Argentina Final
ESPN's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will conclude this weekend with the Third Place and Final matches. Lead play-by-play commentator Ian Darke and Steve McManaman will call the Germany vs. Argentina final with reporter Jeremy Schaap. The match will be broadcast from Rio de Janeiro's famed Estadio do Maracana on ABC and WATCH ABC on Sunday, July 13, at 3 p.m. ET. JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth will call the action for ESPN Radio. FIFA World Cup Matchday will precede the game at 1 p.m.
On Saturday, July 12, host nation Brazil will look for redemption after a stunning 7-1 loss to Germany, as it faces the Netherlands at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will describe the match from Brasilia's Estadio Nacional, while Ross Dyer and Shep Messing have the call for ESPN Radio. The match will also be available on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.