USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifier Makes Viewership History

By Phil Naegely
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

It was a match many soccer fans were waiting for. After a snowy match between USA and Costa Rica, America headed to Mexico. They haven’t had much success against Mexico at Azteca Stadium, but they played tough and were able to steal a point from Mexico in a scoreless tie.  Between 2.39 million viewers on ESPN and 4.8 million viewers on the Spanish Channel UniMas, a total of 7.2 million people tuned in for the highly anticipated match.

The match was aired at 10:30 p.m. EST, which helped West Coast viewership. Some argue that if it was an earlier match maybe there would have been even more viewers, but I don’t think that would have been the case. I personally think that viewership would have been lower if the match was held earlier.

Three of the six highest television markets that tuned in to watch USA take on Mexico, were on the west coast. According to ESPN Research on twitter, San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle were among the top seven television markets.

To add to this, this was the most-watched World Cup Qualifier friendly telecast ever on an ESPN network channel. It just shows how much the USA-Mexico rivalry means to soccer fans in the USA, whether they happen to be USA fans or Mexico fans.

USA-MEX viewed by 2,385,000 people per minute, making it most-watched World Cup qualifier or int’l friendly telecast ever on ESPN network — ESPN Research (@ESPNResearch) March 27, 2013

Either way this was a great viewership for soccer. To compare this match’s viewership to English Premier League action on ESPN during  the 2011-12 season, the USA-Mexico more than doubled EPL viewership, according to Jonathan Tannenwald.

The past week has been a great week for the US Men’s National Team and their chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With the top three teams automatically qualifying, the US currently sits in third place with four points. The hexagonal qualifying takes a brief break now until June. The US will play against Jamaica on June 7.


Phil Naegely is a Soccer writer for He also writes about College Basketball, MLBNASCAR, and NBA news. Like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @afriendofgod512 and add him to your circles on Google+.

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