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Spain's World Cup win gets record audience in America

July 12, 2010 |  3:23 pm

SPAIN

Almost 25 million people in the United States watched Spain beat the Netherlands and take the World Cup Sunday. That is is a record audience for a telecast of a soccer game here.

According to Nielsen, 24.3 million people watched the game, which ran two-and-a-half-hours. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC had 15.5 million viewers while Univision drew 8.8 million viewers.

The appeal of soccer has been growing steadily in the United States for years and the 24.3 million figure is not far behind the 28.2 million that tuned into Game 7 of the NBA final between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boson Celtics last month.

Overall, ESPN said its coverage of 64 matches averaged about 3.3 million viewers on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. That's a 41% improvement from 2006, when the games averaged 2.3 million viewers. 

For trivia buffs and vuvuzela blowers, the second-most-watched match was between the U.S. and Ghana at the end of June. That battle, which knocked the U.S. out of the competition, averaged 19.4 million viewers. The third-most-watched game was between Brazil and Italy in 1994, which was seen by 18 million.

-- Joe Flint 

Photo: Spain celebrates. Credit: Miguel Riopa / AFP/Getty Images.

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