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ESPN Kicks Off World Cup With Record Overnight Rating

ESPN kicked off its final World Cup with an overnight ratings record.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup got off to an exciting – if controversial – start on Thursday afternoon, when host country Brazil defended their turf with a win a 3-1 win over Croatia.

ESPN’s coverage of the match garnered a 3.2 overnight household rating, the highest for ESPN on record (since 1998), and up 52% from the 2010 opener between South Africa and Mexico, which aired at 10 a.m. ET.

The top-rated markets for the match were: Washington, D.C. (5.1), Boston (5.0), Miami (4.7), Los Angeles (4.6), New York (4.5), San Francisco (4.3) and Hartford, Conn. (4.3).

The United States begins its World Cup play on Monday against Ghana at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.