JOHANNESBURG -- The United States' controversial 2-2 World Cup draw with Slovenia, in which an apparent late go-ahead goal for the Americans was disallowed by a referee who didn't explain his decision, drew the most households for a soccer match in ESPN's history.
Friday's game, which began at 10 a.m. EDT, received a 3.9 fast national rating, ESPN said Saturday, and was seen in 3,906,000 homes. The 5.2 million viewers were the third-most for soccer on the cable network, trailing only 5.85 million for Italy's 2-0 overtime win over Germany in the 2006 semifinals and 5,353,000 for Germany's 1-0 victory over the United States in the 2002 quarterfinals, a match that began at 7:30 a.m. EDT.
The U.S.-Slovenia game drew a high rating of 8.5 in San Diego, where it began at 7 a.m. San Diego had the largest rating at 11.5 for the U.S.'s 1-1 draw against England on June 12 on ABC.
Washington, D.C., was second for the U.S.-Slovenia match at 6.4, followed by Miami (6.2), West Palm Beach (5.9) and San Francisco (5.7). The match also set a record for unique viewers for any event on ESPN3.com at 798,911 for live and on-demand.
The first 23 World Cup games through Friday on ABC and ESPN averaged a 1.9 rating, up 60 percent from a 1.2 for a similar period four years ago. Households increased 66 percent from 1,336,000 to 2,333,000 and viewers went up 71 percent from 1,720,000 to 2,950,000.
A total of 3.4 million unique viewers have seen live and on-demand matches on ESPN3.com.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press