World Cup: ESPN Sets Ratings Record With Argentina Vs. Netherlands Semifinal

Argentine Star Lionel Messi

The 4.3 overnight rating for the match beat ESPN's previous record set on Tuesday's Germany vs. Brazil game, though still far behind ratings for Team USA matches.

The World Cup continues to break ratings records for ESPN, with Wednesday's semifinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands hitting a new overnight high for the network.

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The game, which ended in a penalty shootout and victory for Argentina, averaged an 4.3 overnight rating for ESPN, the best-ever result for a World Cup semifinal on the network. It beat out the previous record – the 4.1 overnight rating for Tuesday's Brazil vs Germany semifinal.

Overall, the 62 World Cup matches that have aired on ESPN, ESPN 2 and the ABC networks, have averaged a 3.0 market rating, or 30 percent higher than the first 62 matches of the 2010 World Cup.

ESPN's all-time ratings high this tournament was for the US team's final World Cup match against Belgium, which averaged a 9.6 rating and drew 16.5 million viewers nationally. In terms of total audience, ESPN's peak was the US vs Portugal group match, which pulled 18.2 million viewers.

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This year's semifinals averaged a 4.2 overnight rating, 50 percent stronger than the 2.8 overnight average hit by the 2010 games.

ESPN will be releasing final national ratings and viewership numbers later today.