- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The United States may not yet be soccer crazy, but ABC has no reason to complain after airing the World Cup final.

Sunday’s final match between Italy and France earned an 7.0 rating, according to Nielsen Media research, making it the third most watched soccer game ever among U.S. viewers. Ratings were also close to many of the events that traditionally capture the attention of American sports fans.

The 7.0 rating, representing about 7.75 million households, is a notch below the average rating for all games of the NBA Finals on ABC, and about four points lower than the average rating for last year’s World Series, which was broadcast in prime time.

On ESPN, overall ratings for World Cup games in the last month were up 73 percent from 2002, when the U.S. team reached the quarterfinals. ABC’s ratings were up 117 percent from 2002 even before the final.

But those seeking evidence of which “football” championship means more in the U.S. need only look at this year’s rating for the Super Bowl — a whopping 41.6.

Tim Lemke

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