July 2 More people in the United States tuned in
to the U.S.-Belgium World Cup soccer match on Tuesday than they
did for the World Series of baseball - the top championship game
for the sport also known as the national pastime.
Disney-owned ESPN said it was the second highest
rated men's soccer game, with about 16.5 million viewers, and
that it bested its record for its streaming video app WatchESPN,
with 1.1 million viewers.
Spanish-language broadcast network Univision said
5.1 million watched the U.S. play Belgium in the knockout match.
Belgium beat the U.S. 2-1 during extra time in the
hard-fought contest, setting up the European team to go up
against Argentina in the quarter-finals.
The number of people watching the U.S. and Belgium was
likely much higher, given that scores of thousands jammed bars,
restaurants and sports stadiums to view the contest. Nielsen,
which provides TV ratings, measures only U.S. households.
The more than 22 million watching on Tuesday beat the number
of viewers - some 19 million - who tuned in to see the Boston
Red Sox win the World Series last year.
Still, soccer has a long way to go before it catches up in
popularity with football. The National Football League's annual
Super Bowl drew in more than 111 million U.S. viewers this year.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by Gunna