Wow! That was exciting!
If any dinosaur out there still thinks Americans don't care about soccer, they were not watching ESPN last night. Columbus Crew stadium was rocking with 27,000 sellout for the thrilling US 2-0 ("Dos a Cero!'') World Cup qualifying win over Mexico. Every single fan appeared to be decked in red, white, and blue and the crowd chanted and jumped up and down for nearly the entire match. The US win, combined with Honduras' 2-2 tie with Panama, clinched a World Cup berth for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.
The US is headed to Brazil, its seventh World Cup in a row. I'll be there covering it, and it makes it so much more fun to have our home country competing.
ESPN gave us a 90-minute pre-game show and has been showing highlights and commentary all morning, more proof that the Beautiful Game is finally appreciated and taken seriously by American sports fans. If ESPN says it's important, it's important.
Speaking of ESPN, the overnight numbers are in...and outside of Columbus, the market with the top TV ratings for last night's game was...MIAMI! Of course. Was there any doubt? Miami-Ft. Lauderdale has consistently been the top-rated soccer TV market for the past 10 years. I have no doubt Miami will top TV ratings for the Brazil World Cup next summer, too.
Here's the ESPN release from this morning...
Best Overnight Rating Ever for a FIFA World Cup Qualifying Match
Last night’s ESPN presentation of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 victory over archrival Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, earned a 1.9 overnight rating according to Nielsen, based on the metered markets. This is the highest overnight rating for a U.S. Men’s National Team match in a non-FIFA World Cup or FIFA Confederations Cup tournament.
The previous high was a 1.6 overnight rating for Mexico vs. USA on March 26, 2013, in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. Final ratings numbers will be available this afternoon.
Top markets: Columbus (5.1), Miami-Ft Lauderdale (3.3), Buffalo (3.2), Dayton and Washington DC (2.8), San Diego, NYC, Seattle, San Antonio, West Palm Beach (2.5).
What are your thoughts on the US team with 9 months to go til World Cup? Do you like the lineup he used last night? (remembering Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and 2 defenders were missing). Share your views with other soccer crazies here!