Ratings for World Cup Decline

Ratings for ABC's first two tape-delayed broadcasts of the World Cup declined by about 25 percent from the opening two live telecasts during the 1998 tournament.

Ireland's 1-1 tie against Cameroon in Japan on Saturday got a 1.6 overnight rating and 4 share, the network said Monday. That was down 30 percent from the 2.3 overnight rating and 7 share for ABC's first broadcast from the 1998 tournament in France, the Netherlands' scoreless tie against Belgium.

England's 1-1 tie against Sweden on Sunday got a 2.1 overnight rating and 5 share in the 53 metered markets, a 19 percent decrease from ABC's second broadcast in 1998, Croatia's 3-1 victory over Jamaica, which got a 2.6/7.

ABC is broadcasting seven of the 64 games during the tournament, but because of the 13-hour time difference between the East Coast of the United States and Japan and South Korea, the only live telecast will be the final on June 30, which starts at 7 a.m. EDT.

ESPN and ESPN2 are showing live coverage of 57 of the 64 games, with 16 on ESPN and the rest on ESPN2. The games start at 1:30 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m., 5 a.m., 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. EDT.

Four years ago, ESPN showed 27 games, ESPN2 23, and ABC 14 — all live.

The rating is the percentage of television households in the United States tuned to a broadcast and the share is the percentage tuned in among those households with televisions on at the time,

ESPN's ratings for the weekend were not immediately available.