No, soccer isn’t bigger than the NFL and probably will never be, not in the United States. But the World Cup opening win over Ghana set quite a few records in terms of viewership and ratings, including getting a higher viewing share in New York City compared to last season’s average for both the New York Giants and the New York Jets.
The United States opened the 2014 World Cup with a 2-1 win over Ghana in Group G. They led through the fastest goal in this tournament, conceded late but scored the winner off a Josh Brooks header in the 8th minute.
USA-Ghana did a 14.4 in NYC on ESPN/Univision combined. The average of all Jets/Giants games last season in NY was 14.1 across FOX/CBS/NBC.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 17, 2014
Maybe most of the viewers came from Univision? Nope. The United States opening the World Cup against Ghana was their highest ever rated soccer match on ESPN. That may be very far away from being the best rating ever, but it continues to show the growing appeal of the sport in North America, especially during the World Cup.
So what, New Yorkers like the American national team more than they do the Jets and the Giants? Probably not. It’s hard to compare two different sports not going head to head. It might also help soccer come out better in this one as both the Jets and the Giants didn’t do too well this season.
The victory drew and average of 6.3 USA house hold rating with just over 11 million viewers, becoming the highest rated and most viewed men’s soccer match even on ESPN. It was their highest overnight rating ever for a men’s World Cup match.