USA-Portugal soccer sets record, ‘Last Ship’ draws big on Sunday

06.23.14 3 years ago

The premiere of TNT's “The Last Ship” outdrew ABC's “Rising Star” launch on Sunday (June 22) night, but all other programming was overshadowed by the record-setting numbers for USA-Portugal soccer.

Yes, America. We love battleships and soccer simultaneously now.

Sunday afternoon's round robin game between the United States and Portugal averaged 18.22 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched soccer match in domestic history. Your previous recordholder? The 1999 Women's World Cup finale between the USA and China, which drew nearly 18 million viewers.

The back-and-forth thriller, which saw Team USA fall behind early, storm back in the second half to take a 2-1 lead and then slip into a tie on the last play in stoppage time, peaked with nearly 23 million viewers between 7:30 and 8 p.m. ET.

In addition to the ESPN windfall, the USA/Portugal game drew 6.5 million viewers on Univision, the most watched Team USA game to date.

Team USA is currently tied for first in its group with four points going into Thursday's crucial match against Germany, airing at noon Eastern on ESPN. A win or a tie in that game and Team USA advances to the knockout round. 

Meanwhile, a couple hours later, TNT drew 5.3 million viewers for the premiere of “The Last Ship,” also drawing a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49. The overall audience topped the 5.1 million viewers for ABC's “Rising Star,” though “Rising Star” did a 1.5 rating in the key demo. For that hour, both shows were behind NBC's “America's Got Talent.” We're also still waiting on “True Blood” premiere numbers.

The news was a bit less impressive for “Falling Skies,” which kicked off its fourth season with 3.7 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 airing after “The Last Ship.”

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