World Cup: More than 23 million people watch U.S.-Belgium game

OK, everybody, time to go back to work.

Team USA’s departure from the World Cup and six of the remaining eight games falling on a day off for most employees mean that work productivity in daylight can return to normal.

Nielsen recorded a 9.8 rating for ESPN with its telecast Tuesday afternoon of the U.S.-Belgium game. That translates to an average of 16.5 million viewers, second all-time for soccer on the network to the U.S.-Portugal game 10 days earlier (18.2 million). That game was played on a Sunday, which makes the most recent audience more impressive.

(ESPN is owned by Walt Disney Co. Wonder if the ride operators at Disneyland were permitted extra-long coffee breaks during the game.)


The viewing count for Spanish-language Univision was not too shabby. The U.S.-Belgium game drew 5.1 million viewers on the network.

ESPN’s online number peaked at 1.5 million for live streaming.

The quarterfinals are Friday and Saturday, with the third-place and championship games the next weekend.