By David Beard, Globe Staff
Clint Dempsey and the U.S. national soccer team may have had a nightmarish second half against Brazil, but ESPN said the match scored its strongest ratings for a non-World Cup event.
The game was seen on ESPN by 3.945 million viewers in an average of 2.556 million television homes, based on a 2.6 rating, according to the network. The figure does not count those who watched the Spanish-language play-by-play on Univision.
The figure was smaller than several World Cup games broadcast of ESPN's sister network, ABC, which has a broader non-cable audience. The US-Italy match in the 2006 World Cup drew a 4.4 rating and a 6.7 million readers, said Aaron Lewis of Nielsen.
He said that an ESPN2 broadcast two days earlier in 2006 of the US-Czech Republic match drew a 1.9 rating and 2.6 million viewers.
Nielsen's Lewis, who watched Sunday's match with friends, and said the ratings augur well for ESPN's upgraded schedule of international soccer -- including the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga -- in the fall. ''ESPN certainly recognizes these opportunities,'' said Lewis.
On Sunday, Dempsey and Landon Donovan led the American squad to a first-half lead over the Brazilians, who roared back to win the FIFA Confederations Cup final 3-2 in South Africa. It was the first-ever FIFA final for the United States. The much-improved US squad is in the hunt for the top 32 spots to compete in the 2010 World Cup, also in South Africa.
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To our readers,
We've added a translation feature to the Corner Kicks blog to assist readers who may be more comfortable reading another language.
Google Translate is not perfect -- we're aware of that -- but it is quite good at getting the main points of the story across. We've successfully used it on The Big Picture, Boston.com's extremely popular world photography site. I'd be eager to hear your feedback on its use in Corner Kicks, in whatever language.
David Beard, Editor, Boston.com