The Group C match between the U.S. and England drew almost 13 million viewers, the most ever for a FIFA World Cup opening-round match in this nation and the tops for a U.S. men's national team contest since 1994.
The much-anticipated June 12 telecast on ABC, which ended in a 1-1 draw, drew a 7.3 national household rating, 8.39 million households and 12.96 million watchers during the match window from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET), according to fast national data from Nielsen.
The three-hour telecast, including the pre-match coverage from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., averaged a 6.1 household rating, 7.03 million households and just under 10.8 million viewers
The overall three-hour telecast ranks as the fifth all-time soccer match in the U.S. behind three World Cup finals and a round of 16 game in 1994, all televised on ABC:
1. U.S.-China, Women's WC Final (7/10/1999) - 18.0 million viewers (11.4 rating)
2. Brazil-Italy, WC Final (7/17/1994) - 14.5 (9.5 rating)
3. Brazil-U.S., Round of 16 (7/4/1994) - 13.7 (9.3 rating)
4. Italy-France, WC Final (7/9/2006) - 12.0 (7.0 rating)
5. U.S.-England, First Round (6/12/2010) - 10.8 (6.1 rating)
On the local level, U.S.-England netted its highest rating in San Diego, where it pulled an 11.5 rating, followed by an 11.2 in San Francisco, with Las Vegas third with an 11.0. Cincinnati (10.8) and Salt Lake City (10.2) rounded out the top five, according to Nielsen data.