World Cup: Ratings Gains Continue as Round of 16 Underway

As the World Cup's Round of 16 got underway over the weekend, ESPN and Univision continued to reap the ratings benefits from what has been a closely-played tournament.

ESPN's two matches on Sunday posted the best numbers for a World Cup match that didn't feature the United States — the Americans face off against Belgium on Tuesday afternoon — led by the Netherlands' last-second win over Mexico.

The Dutch's 2-1 victory, which included two goals at the end of the second half (including the deciding penalty shot in stoppage time), drew 6.57 million viewers, followed by Costa Rica's shootout victory over Greece, which garnered 6.39 million viewers. Mexico's heartbreaking loss to the Dutch was a ratings boon for Univision however, as the broadcaster set a record for a U.S. Spanish-language audience, amassing 10.4 million viewers.

ESPN's top-five most-viewed World Cup matches ever (including ESPN2) come from the 2014 World Cup.

ABC's Saturday coverage of host country Brazil knocking off Chile ranked as the broadcaster's third-best non-U.S. World Cup match with 6.14 million viewers. The later game on Saturday — Columbia defeating a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay — drew 5.36 million viewers.

Overall, through the first 52 matches, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC are tracking 32% above the 2010 World Cup with 3.79 million viewers.

(Photo via