July 14, 2014 1:44pm PT by Michael O'Connell
World Cup Ratings: 26.5 Million U.S. Viewers Watch Final Match Across Networks
The full global tally is still a ways off, but the World Cup finished strong with U.S. viewers.
Capping off a record-breaking run for the FIFA tournament's 2014 stay in Brazil, Sunday's final between Germany and Argentina averaged 17.3 million viewers on ABC. Compared to the network's total for the 2010 final in South Africa, the match was up 1.8 million viewers.
PHOTOS World Cup Final Highlights
ABC, carrying ESPN's coverage, was not the only network to air the game. Univision's Spanish-language coverage also boasted a considerable showing with 9.2 million viewers. That's up a shade from the 2010 final.
Looking at just the ABC-ESPN combo, the game stands as the third-most-watched soccer game in U.S. TV history. The U.S. match with Portugal set a new record several weeks ago with 18.2 million viewers, edging past No. 2: the the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final at 17.98 million viewers.
For a final, this marks the most watched men's World Cup championship game with U.S. viewers. And all told, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC improved their combined World Cup showing by 39 percent over 2010, bringing in an average 4.6 million viewers during the 64 matches.
Online, the WatchESPN app generated 1.8 million live unique viewers.