ESPN Kicks Off World Cup With Record Overnight Rating

Brazil-Croatia match draws 3.2 rating, up 52% from 2010

ESPN kicked off its final World Cup with an overnight ratings record.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup got off to an exciting – if controversial – start on Thursday afternoon, when host country Brazil defended their turf with a win a 3-1 win over Croatia.

ESPN’s coverage of the match garnered a 3.2 overnight household rating, the highest for ESPN on record (since 1998), and up 52% from the 2010 opener between South Africa and Mexico, which aired at 10 a.m. ET.

The top-rated markets for the match were: Washington, D.C. (5.1), Boston (5.0), Miami (4.7), Los Angeles (4.6), New York (4.5), San Francisco (4.3) and Hartford, Conn. (4.3).

The United States begins its World Cup play on Monday against Ghana at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.