By Alan Pergament
Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in extra time Sunday to win the World Cup had local ratings that were out of this world for soccer.
ABC's coverage during game time from 3 p.m. to around 5:45 p.m. had a 10.4 rating on local affililate Channel 7, which was more than double the 4.6 local rating for Spain's victory over Netherlands four years ago during game time.
The rain showers Sunday afternoon may have helped the local rating, as did the fact the game went into extra time.
However, the rating clearly confirms the impressive surge in interest in the United States and Western New York for the soccer competition played every four years. The question now is whether the interest will continue beyond the World Cup.
The final hour of Sunday's game from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. averaged a 12.5 rating locally, peaking at 13.7 in the final 15 minutes when the winning goal was scored by Germany's Mario Gotze.
While Univision also has had impressive national ratings for its coverage of the World Cup, its coverage didn't register a rating here. The channel is only on Time Warner Cable's Buffalo system, the satellite dishes and FiOs.
The national rating for the World Cup isn't available at this writing. It may include the pregame show, which will lower the rating.
Update: ESPN reports the game averaged a 9.7 overnight rating in the 56 metered markets, including Buffalo. That includes the pregame show, which is why ESPN says that Buffalo averaged an 8.6 rating rather than a 10.4 rating. The rating is reduced when the low-rated pregame show is added. Still, ESPN said Buffalo was one of 12 markets that recorded its highest men's World Cup rating ever.
To put the local rating in further perspective, let's compare the World Cup final to the decisive games in major sports.
The World Cup rating was:
Higher than the 9.2 rating on Channel 2 for the Los Angeles Kings title clincher over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.
Higher than the 8.6 rating on Channel 7 for San Antonio's title clincher over the Miami Heat in the NBA finals.
Higher than the 9.6 rating on WUTV for the Boston Red Sox's World Series clincher over the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, it was lower than the 12.2 rating on Channel 4 for the University at Connecticut's NCAA men's basketball final victory over Kentucky.
It was nowhere near the 51.0 rating on WUTV for Seattle's Super Bowl romp over Denver. But expecting the world version of football to compete with interest in the American version on television was way too much to ask.
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