The Washington Post

D.C. tops TV markets in World Cup opener ratings

Arena de Sao Paulo for the opening match. (By Paulo Whitaker — Reuters)

Brazil was not the only winner on the opening day of the World Cup. Washington won the ESPN ratings race.

D.C.’s TV market was first in the nation with a 5.1 rating, edging Boston (5.0), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (4.7), Los Angeles (4.6) and New York (4.5). The next five were San Francisco, Hartford, Providence, Austin and Orlando.

Washington was also the No. 1 market for the English Premier League on NBC and NBC Sports Network in 2013-14.

The Brazil-Croatia opener — which kicked off at 4 p.m. ET and 1 p.m. PT on a weekday — averaged a 2.8 national rating with 4.435 million viewers, the highest-rated and most-watched first match since Nielsen began keeping records in 1994, according to ESPN. Compared to the 2010 opener, featuring South Africa and Mexico, ESPN saw a 49 percent ratings increase and a 55 percent rise in viewership.

WatchESPN attracted 1.1 million unique viewers, the most in platform history.

Univision reported 5.1 million viewers. Another 1.9 million watched on Univision Digital.

In all, the match drew about 9.5 million TV viewers and 3 million online. That night, ABC’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA finals had a TV audience estimated at 10.6 million.

The viewership for Univision’s coverage of the opening ceremony was 2.8 million.


Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Next Story
Steven Goff · June 13, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.