By Alan Pergament
World Cup fever hit local news Sunday, with all three stations leading their 11 p.m. newscasts with stories about local reaction to the United States' 2-2 draw with Portugal.
From the crowds watching at Canalside and Hertel Avenue, you might think all of WNY is caught up with the soccer tournament that is played every four years.
But those crowds, as well as everyone in local bars, don't count in Nielsen ratings.
And perhaps that is why the local rating for the ESPN telecast didn't hit double-digits. The estimated 5,000 people at Canalside alone could have added a half a rating point.
The game had an 8.7 rating locally from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, which was about 35 percent higher locally than the United States' 2-1 victory over Ghana in its first Cup game.
To put the soccer rating in perspective, we should remember there is what the world calls football and not what the United States calls football.
The 8.7 rating is lower than the local average for regular season National Football League games in 2013 on ESPN. The NFL games on ESPN averaged a 9.8 here last season.
However, the 8.7 rating is slightly higher than the 8.6 rating that Channel 7 had for San Antonio's game five clinching victory over Miami in the NBA finals.
And it was higher than any prime time network summer program Sunday. "America's Got Talent," the top broadcast network program Sunday, averaged a 7.3 on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.
The soccer rating also was in a statistical tie with the rating for Channel 2's 11 p.m. newscast, which had an 8.8 rating. The 11 p.m. newscasts for Channel 4 and Channel 7 both had a 4.4 rating.