ESPN and Univison posted record numbers, though will be disappointed not to continue the momentum in 2018 after losing the World Cup contract to rivals.ESPN and Univision will be pleased with the ratings returned from their coverage of the 2014 World Cup. A combined 26.5 million people watched Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup Sunday, according to data from Nielsen and the networks.
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That number eclipses the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands and this year's United States match against Portugal, both of which had viewership totals of 24.7 million, to become the most-viewed match in U.S. history.
ABC recorded 17.3 million viewers while 9.2 million tuned into Spanish-language Univision according to Nielsen. More than 750,000 were viewing on the networks' streaming services during a typical minute, the networks said.
Nielsen data also reported an uptick in interest for the tournament in general, with ESPN and sister station ABC's ratings up 39 percent while Univision posted a 34 percent increase.
The networks won't be able to improve on those numbers in 2018 after being outbid by rivals for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. ESPN loses the English-language rights to Fox and Univision rival Telemundo purchased Spanish-language rights.