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The biggest U.S. television audience ever in a World Cup final

The biggest U.S. television audience ever in a World Cup final

Argentina-Mexico World Cup Spanish TV gets 8.9M U.S. viewers, highest-rated TV event of year for cable networks

By Jon Swartz

The Associated Press

Posted: 03/24/2014 09:50:52 PM PST

Updated: 03/24/2014 11:39:07 PM PST

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The Argentine-Mexico World Cup final in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, March 19, 2014. Argentina’s Lionel Messi has been the top scorer in World Cup history, and his side was playing a 1-0 lead. But they lost, 2-1, in a match widely regarded as a turning point in the tournament, and Argentina is set to play Japan again in the final.

PASADENA, Calif. — A soccer World Cup final between two of the continent’s most popular national teams has been the most-watched in U.S. television history, drawing an average of 8.9 million viewers and shattering a record for cable networks.

Argentina vs. Mexico on Sunday delivered an 8.9 million viewers on Fox for the Fox Soccer match featuring the two-time defending champions.

The previous record of 6.4 million viewers was set in South Africa in 2010. That was also the biggest audience ever in a World Cup final.

The previous U.S. television record was set in the U.S. vs. Ghana, on the network, in 1990, on NBC. That drew a 9.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen TV, which is considered the industry-standard measure of viewership.

A new audience record was set in Japan vs. Germany in the 2002 World Cup on NBC, on the same day as Monday’s U.S. vs. Ghana match. That drew a 7.5 million viewers, per Nielsen.

Monday’s match began just before midnight Eastern Standard Time, which gave many viewers a chance to set their clocks ahead to the

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