Women’s World Cup final sets soccer ratings record in U.S.

The USA’s 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday in the Women’s World Cup final has set a new ratings high for a soccer telecast in the U.S.

Fox Sports reports that the 7-9 p.m. ET telecast averaged a 15.2 household rating and 27 share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets. According to Fox, that marks a new high for a soccer telecast on a single network, topping the previous mark set in 1999 when the USA women last claimed the World Cup in a victory over China.

According to Fox, Sunday’s overnights are up 77% over ESPN’s telecast of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, when Japan beat the USA. The game proved a star-making showcase for USA player Carli Lloyd (pictured), who scored three goals within the first 20 minutes of play.

Sunday’s viewership peaked in the final 15 minutes of the telecast at 18.3/31.

The top five markets for the game were in the Midwest and Southwest: Kansas City (20.6/35), St. Louis (20.5/33), San Diego (19.5/41), Denver (19.4/36) and Austin (19.1/37).

More detailed Nielsen ratings for the telecast will be available later today.

Soccer dominated the first half of primetime on Sunday, cutting into the ratings for 8 p.m. firstrun series “Big Brother” on CBS (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “Celebrity Family Feud” on ABC (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), both of which hit season lows in Nielsen’s preliminary national estimates. Following “Family Feud” on ABC, “Battlebots” also posted its lowest scores to date (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall).