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USA v. Belgium watched by 22 million in U.S.; bests World Series and NBA finals

Jul 2, 2014, 5:56 PM EDT

Brazil Soccer WCup AP

Reuters is reporting that more than 22 million Americans watched the United States’ 2-1 loss to Belgium in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday.

That number is three million more than the 19 million Americans that tuned in to watch the Boston Red Sox win the World Series last October and four million more than the 18 million who watched the Spurs clinch the NBA title over the Miami Heat in Game 5 last June.

That 22 million was derived from 16.5 million viewers who watched ESPN’s broadcast, 1.1 million viewers who streamed on the WatchESPN app and 5.1 million who tuned in to Univision, the Spanish-language broadcast network.

Given that Nielsen TV ratings only measure U.S. households and thousands upon thousands of people jammed bars, restaurants and sports stadiums to view the contest, total viewership number is well beyond the 22 million mark.

Which is all to say the one thing that’s been preached in nearly ever soccer article you’ve read today: Soccer in America is a big deal.

But you already knew that.

  1. bishopofblunder - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    It’s the hot girls in the Kia commercials. That’s what did it.

    • Gabbo - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      Adriana Lima > Blake Griffin

  2. granadafan - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Awesome results and viewership. At least in our work, there were a lot of people who coincidentally blocked off their calendars around the gametime. Finally, the CEO called everyone into the large training room with the game on the giant screen. If we’re going to waste time anyways, it might as well be out in the open and together.

    • khard1250 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Got any job openings?

  3. seabassfan - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Sure watching soccer in the USA is a big deal. Let’s see what the viewership is for the finals and then tell me what a big deal it is. Generally speaking we Americans only care about international sports as long as the US team is still in the contest.

  4. goirishgo - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    And the NBA Finals and World Series were in prime time….

    • renaado - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      The World Series are watched by fans locally when the team they’re rootin for are in it… 2 cities: Boston and St Louis in 2013, I’m positive almost all of the people in those area are watchin.

      This is the World Cup, where teams compete against different countries. 22 million watchin all around the United States is lesser than less on what I’m expectin, it’s a small number… And very.

  5. vipod4ever - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Hello 2022! Stadiums to choose from and an ever growing fan base…it’s the right time now!

  6. rmccleary97 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    It’s great to talk about ratings for U.S. vs. Belgium, but let’s be real: right now soccer on TV is a big thing for the U.S. every 4 years. There won’t be 22 million people tuned in for the MLS final later this year, there won’t be 22 million people tuned in for the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2015 or the Copa America final in 2016 or the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2017 or any of the CONCACAF qualifying games, … the next chances to have 22 million Americans watching soccer is (A) later in this tournament, and (B) in 4 years, when the World Cup is being played in Russia.

    What we can hope for is that this is a springboard for kids getting involved in the game – and even then, we need coaches at the lower levels who are much more focused on player development, not “let’s win so I can have a big trophy to put up over the fireplace at home.”

    • braxtonrob - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      @rmccleary, I agree, particularly, coaches at all levels need to be teaching UN-selfish play. The teams that are consistently unselfish, consistently win, at every level.

    • dinofrank60 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      You want the sport to explode, let the kids play it in the yards, streets and in the parks. Just like they used to do with baseball, football, basketball and hockey. . You don’t need soccer moms and vans, uniforms and trophies for everyone. Where you play with older and younger kids. Where you figure out a way. to make a goal without a net. How come we see this in other countries?

      Then they can go out for a team with some idea about their talents and skill.

  7. footballer4ever - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    I am a passionate football fan. The football played and loved throughout the world to be specific. The high US viewership boost is pleasant to realize. This only means Football’s World Cup is a high sports property and more people understand it and can appreciate the tournament. Events like this expose more people to the sport to understand it and accept it for what is is. If only a fraction of those fans continue with MLS or Premier League, the boost will be significant in the long run. Remember, this is a generational thing and as American-Only-Sports minded dinosaurs start to die, the new generation does not have the biased/discriminatory views dinosaurs like to hang to. Football is on an gradual increase which is better because it’s a permanent thing than a spur of the moment emotion. Football fans, concentrate on growing the sport either by attending MLS games or watching games and it’s about time to let go compare or insinuating if football will surpass MLB, NFL, NBA. The main thing we should work on is to make sure football is supported in every way possible and everything else will fall in place.

  8. bnwpnw - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    Nice. Though beating out the NBA finals isn’t THAT impressive — barely anyone I know is an NBA fan anymore.

    • thewalkoffktxt - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:32 AM

      To each their own. How many hockey fans exist (outside of Philly, Chicago, and the Northeast) in the open? But that’s not the point; the NBA has a diverse audience and so does soccer.

    • granadafan - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Personal testimonials amongst YOUR group of friends isn’t helping your cause or your weak argument about viewership.

  9. Jonestein - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Glad to see the US embracing soccer, this was a fun team to watch. But please, can we stop with the apples to oranges ratings comparisons? Unless you enjoy sounding like an NFL blog, that is.

  10. player169 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    I played soccer from age 5-18…now I’m 36…with a 3 & 1 year old. I think we have got to a point where parents and kids alike both like and can share in the love if soccer. The passion you see from growing MLS fan bases is exciting and unstoppable. My uncle and I have owned NFL season tickets for 14 years now…we’ve been to playoff games. I took him to his 1st MLS game when SKC was in the playoffs and despite it being the coldest MLS game in history…my uncle said it was the best atmosphere and sporting experience he ever had. He is not a soccer “fan”…that says something. This sport is on the rise!!!!

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