USA-Mexico Soccer Sets Ratings Records for UniMas, ESPN

The World Cup qualifying match draws a combined 7 million viewers Tuesday night


Tuesday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Mexico and the Unites States averaged a big 7 million combined viewers on ESPN and Spanish-language broadcaster UniMas.

According to Nielsen estimates, 4.58 million watched the 0-0 tie on UniMas, making it the most-watched telecast to date on the Univision-owned network. The previous high was set by the CONCACAF Copa Ora (Gold Cup) match between Mexico and Guadalupe in June 2007.

UniMas beat big-brother network Univision as well as Telemundo to stand as the No. 1 Spanish-language broadcast station during the time period in half of the country’s top 10 markets (Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Houston).

Among adults 18-34, the soccer match drew 1.5 million viewers to rule as the No. 3 primetime program on all of television Tuesday night. It had a median age of just 34.1.

The match from Mexico City also fared pretty well with English-speaking audiences, drawing 2.39 million viewers on ESPN — the largest crowd for a FIFA World Cup qualifying match (or international friendly) on an ESPN network. This is double the 1.19 million viewers that watched the Mexico-USA match in February 2009, which had set the previous ESPN record (on ESPN2).

Birmingham, Als., was the top market for ESPN (2.9 rating), followed by Austin, Texas (2.6) and Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. (2.4).