UPDATE UPDATE: Univision drew 4.8 million viewers for Monday’s match, the most ever for Team USA on the network, bringing the total U.S. viewership to 15.9 million. The only World Cup match to draw a larger U.S. audience was the 2010 USA-England tilt (17.1 million on ABC and Univision).
The 15.9 million is considerably more than double the 6.6 million that watched the 2006 World Cup match between USA and Ghana (6.6 million on ESPN and Univision).
UPDATE: ESPN’s telecast of the United States-Ghana nail-biter in the opening round of the FIFA World Cup on Monday averaged a big 11.09 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the most-viewed soccer match ever televised by the network. It obliterated the previous high of 6.16 million for the 2010 match between USA and Algeria.
It’s also ESPN’s most-watched telecast of any kind since college football’s BCS National Championship (25.57 million).
Tournament to date through 15 matches, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average 4.112 million viewers through the first 14 matches — increases of 19% (vs. 2.1) and 23% (vs. 3,346,000), respectively, over the 2010 World Cup.
The USA-Ghana match also topped the day’s Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, with roughly 3.1 million tweets written by 1.1 million unique authors. The second biggest program of the day on Twitter, according to Nielsen, was the Germany-Portugal match (1.22 million tweets from 421 unique authors).
ESPN’s coverage of the soccer match between USA and Ghana delivered a strong 7.0 overnight rating on Monday, according to Nielsen, the highest ever for a World Cup game on the cable network.
And despite the early 5:30 p.m. ET start time, it was also the highest-rated program of the day, with ABC’s “The Bachelorette” in primetime a distant No. 2 (4.7 rating).
The top-10 metered markets for ESPN’s coverage of soccer on Monday were Washington, DC (11.8), New York (10.2) and Hartford-New Haven (10.1), with these scores all representing the highest-ever overnight for a World Cup group round match (on any network).
Total-viewer estimates for Monday’s USA-Ghana game, which also aired in Spanish on Univision, will be issued later today by Nielsen.
In primetime, Fox finished on top with its combo of “MasterChef” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “24: Live Another Day” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), with the former rising 13% (0.2) from last week to rule as Monday’s top series in the demo. “24” was down a tick but was the night’s top scripted program and also led in key male demos.
At ABC, “The Bachelorette” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) was down 11% from its most recent telecast of two weeks ago, but was Monday’s most-watched series overall. It was followed by drama “Mistresses” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), which was on par with last week when it followed Diane Sawyer’s interview with Hillary Clinton.
NBC opened with an encore “Last Comic Standing” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), followed by “American Ninja Warrior” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), which was down a tenth from last week but comfortably led among the major networks at 10.
CBS, whose Monday will get a boost from the return of “Under the Dome” in two weeks, kept the lights on with repeats of “2 Broke Girls” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), “Mom” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and “Mike & Molly” at both 9 (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and 9:30 (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall). A special “48 Hours” original aired at 10 (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall).
CW’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall for an original at 8, and 0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall for a repeat at 8:30) was nearly on par with last week’s solid numbers. Firstrun drama “Beauty and the Beast” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall) matched last week’s numbers.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 1.6/5; ABC, 1.4/4; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.1/4; CBS, 1.1/3; Telemundo, 0.7/2; CW, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: Fox, 5.4 million; ABC, 5.2 million; CBS, 4.8 million; NBC, 4.1 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Telemundo, 1.6 million; CW, 1.3 million.