Conquering heroes: Uruguay fans surround the team bus in Montevideo, paying tribute to the
third-place fourth-place team at the World Cup (AP Photo).
I’m not the only one going through World Cup withdrawal, I’m guessing:
NEW YORK (AP) — World Cup television viewership rose 41 percent over four years ago for English-language telecasts in the United States, with Spain’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Netherlands setting a record for a men’s soccer game.
Sunday’s game in Johannesburg, which gave the Spanish their first World Cup title, was seen by 15,545,000 viewers on ABC, according to fast national ratings. The previous high was 14,863,000 viewers for the United States’ 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana in the second round on June 26.
An additional 8,821,000 million viewers watched Spanish-language coverage Sunday on Univision, according to Nielsen Media Research, bringing the total to nearly 24.4 million.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 2.1 rating, 2,288,000 households and 3,261,000 viewers for the 64 World Cup games. The rating was up 31 percent from a 1.6 four years ago, while households increased 32 percent from 1,735,000 and viewers rose from 2,316,000.
The increases had been higher while the U.S. remained in the tournament. Through the first 50 games, the rating was up 48 percent, households increased 54 percent and viewers rose 60 percent.
“We always expected that the presence of the U.S. team would provide us with these big
spikes,” John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president of content, said Monday. “The TV rating is only a little piece of the story. One of every three people watched on something other than the television at their home, either watched in a bar, or on their phone, or in their office on a computer.”
ESPN paid FIFA $100 million for rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while Univision spent $325 million.
Water under the bridge: Despite finishing second at the World Cup for a third time, Dutch fans gave their returning national team a hero’s welcome today in Amsterdam (AP Photo).
In other news today:
*Four Galaxy players were named to the MLS All-Star team today that will take on Manchester United July 28 in Houston – goalkeeper Donovan Rickets, defender Omar Gonzalez, midfielder Landon Donovan and striker Edson Buddle.
The Coach is the Galaxy’s Bruce Arena.
Here’s the MLS XI announced today, as voted on by players, coaches, media and fans:
Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts (Galaxy)*
Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy)*, Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)*
Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)*, Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire)* Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)
Forwards: Edson Buddle (Galaxy), Landon Donovan (Galaxy)
*First time All-Star game selections.
Notable: This is Donovan’s 10th consecutive All-Star Game selection.
*There are two international games involving the U.S. the next two days.
First up at 6 o’clock tonight the U.S. women play Sweden on ESPN, the first of two games in five days against the Europeans. The Swedes are ranked fourth in the world by FIFA.
Notable: The two matches mark the first between the two countries in the United States since July 2006 when the Americans defeated Sweden 3-2 in sweltering Minnesota heat on a dramatic late goal from Kristine Lilly.
The U.S. team is preparing for CONCACAF qualifying this fall for the 2011 Women’s World Cup scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine German cities.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National team plays the first of its three group games at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup at 9 a.m. Wednesday live on ESPNU.
Locals on the U.S. roster include UCLA midfielders Zakiya Bywaters and Jenna Richmond, as well as UCLA striker Sydney Leroux, who is playing in her third World Cup.