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U.S.-Mexico Soccer Match Draws Record Ratings for UniMas, ESPN

The result on the pitch was a neutral, but it was anything but with the Nielsens as ESPN and UniMas netted record ratings with their coverage of the World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Mexico.

The 0-0 draw from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on March 26 drew a combined average of some 7.2 million viewers on the worldswide leader and Univision Communications' second Spanish-language broadcast network.

ESPN scored a 1.4 U.S. household rating, 1.7 cable rating, 1.64 million households and 2.39 million viewers, making it the most-watched and highest-rated World Cup qualifier or international friendly on an ESPN service, according to Nielsen data. Tuesday night's telecast doubled the previous top match: the 0.7 and 1.19 million the sides garnered for their WCQ on Feb. 11, 2009.

For its part, UniMas, averaged 4.8 million watchers from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. (ET). That delivery supplanted the CONCACAF Copa Ora (Gold Cup) match between Mexico-Guadeloupe on June 21, 2007 as the top telecast on the service, which until January was called TeleFutura, according to officials at Univision Deportes.

All told, some 7.8 million watched some or all of the highly anticipated match. From a demo perspective, UniMas averaged 2.9 million persons 18 to 49 and 1.6 million persons 18 to 34, which stood third in all of TV, regardless of language, last night, according to Nielsen data.