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US-Japan was the most-watched soccer game in American TV history

Jonathan Hayward/AP

NEW YORK — The United States national team’s 5-2 win over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final Sunday was the most-viewed soccer game in the history of American television.

The game was seen by 26.7 million viewers. Fox said Monday its English-language coverage was seen by an average of 25.4 million and NBC’s Telemundo said its telecast averaged 1.27 million.

Viewership topped the previous mark of 26.5 million set when Germany beat Argentina in last year’s men’s World Cup final. That was seen by 17.3 million on ABC and 9.2 million on Univision.

The previous peak for a Women’s World Cup was the 17.9 million who watched the United States beat China in the 1999 championship game.


Although the match was a blowout, English-language viewership on the Fox network peaked at 30.9 million late in the match between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. Eastern.

The English-language audience Sunday also exceeded that for the deciding Game 6 of the NBA Finals last month (23.3 million). Likewise, Sunday’s numbers were higher than for Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, which attracted nearly 23.5 million viewers.

It was the highest for any US broadcast since an average of 28.3 million saw Duke beat Wisconsin on CBS to win the NCAA men’s basketball title in April.

The 52 World Cup matches on Fox, Fox Sports 1, and Fox Sports 2 averaged 1,824,000, a 21 percent increase from the average of 1,511,000 for the 32 games of the 2011 tournament on ESPN and ESPN2.

St. Louis had the highest average for the seven US matches at 8.0, followed by Kansas City (7.5), Washington, D.C. (7.3), Austin, Texas (6.6), San Diego (6.4), Richmond, Va. (6.2), and Denver and Baltimore (6.1).

An average of 232,000 unique streamers watched the final on Fox Sports Go, a record for the app.


In the weekend’s other big soccer match, Chile’s penalty-kicks win over Argentina in the finale of the Copa America tournament was viewed by 1.46 million in the United States: 464,000 on beIN Sports and 1 million on beIN Sports en Espanol.