USA-Mexico sets ESPN record for World Cup Qualifying


Despite a 10:30 p.m. ET start and a 0-0 draw, a record World Cup Qualifying audience tuned in.

The U.S. Men's National Team struck another blow for soccer in this country Tuesday night, both on the field and off.

The USMNT's 0-0 draw against Mexico drew a 1.6 overnight rating, and later Wednesday when the viewership numbers come in (stay tuned), will likely become the most-watched World Cup Qualifying match in ESPN history. In fact, the highest previous rating for a qualifier on ESPN was a 0.7, coming for USA-Mexico in 2009, and USA-Jamaica in 1997. The U.S. game against Costa Rica on Friday, the now classic "snow game", drew a 0.6 rating and ended up with 860,000 viewers, so we're likely headed for a similarly big number for last night's game.

Incidentally, the highest rated non-World Cup Final U.S. match ever on ESPN? It'll likely shock no diehard football fan, but the Confederations Cup Final in 2009 between the United States and Brazil drew a 2.6 rating and 2.5 million viewers.

UPDATE: The viewership numbers are in. USA-Mexico drew 2.39 million viewers for ESPN on Tuesday night. The game was the most-watched non-rerun program on cable last night. The game also drew 4.8 million viewers on UniMas, a Spanish language network. Just to give you an example, here are some recent viewership numbers for big events on ESPN:

Heat-Celtics, Mar. 18: 3.7 million

Big East Championship, Mar. 16: 3.41 million

ACC Championship, Mar. 17: 2.24 million

Big 12 Championship, Mar. 16: 2.17 million

Heat-Magic, Mar. 26: 1.92 million

Pac-12 Championship, Mar. 16: 1.55 million

Knicks-Nuggets, Mar. 13: 1.42 million

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More in Soccer:

November 23, 1980: The day USA vs. Mexico became a major rivalry

The England national team is a failed brand

Full coverage of CONCACAF qualifying, including USA-Mexico

Spain win, England falter in UEFA qualifying

Atleti vs. Real: The most important race for second place

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