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USA vs Panama FIFA World Cup qualifier brings in record ratings for ESPN

ESPN has announced that this week’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying contest between the No 1 seed the United States and Panama delivered ESPN’s second most-watched and second highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying or international friendly match telecast of all time.

The US Men’s National Team sits atop the standings in the Hexagonal (final) round of the qualifying series for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). There are six teams competing in this round and the top three earn automatic berths to Brazil 2014. The fourth team plays a two-legged playoff against New Zealand, representing the Oceania Football Confederation.

The Panama match, a 2-0 win by the US Men’s National Team at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, was seen by an average 1.436 million viewers, 888,000 households based on a 0.8 US household rating, according to Nielsen Media.

The viewers for USA-Panama trails only Mexico vs USA on 26 March 2013, a telecast that delivered the record average audience with 2.385 million viewers and 1.644 million households, based on a 1.4 household US rating on ESPN.

San Diego was the top market for the match telecast, delivering a 2.5 rating. Rounding out the top five were: Seattle-Takoma (2.5), Baltimore (2.1), Hartford-New Haven (1.9) and Nashville (1.9).

ESPN’s coverage of the US Men’s National Team’s campaign to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will continue on Tuesday 18 June, with USA vs Honduras, live from Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City on ESPN and WatchESPN. Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman will call the match.  Bob Ley, Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller will provide studio commentary.

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