SBD/September 12, 2013/Media

ESPN Earns Highest Overnight For U.S. Men's National Soccer Team With 1.9 In Mexico Game

USA clinched a spot in next summer's World Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Mexico
The 2-0 win by the U.S. over Mexico on Tuesday night earned ESPN a 1.9 overnight rating the highest overnight for the U.S. men's national team in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. It also is the highest mark for any USMNT soccer match on the net outside of the FIFA World Cup or Confederations Cup.  The previous high was a 1.6 overnight rating for a U.S.-Mexico match on March 26 at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. Columbus led all markets with a 5.1 local rating for Tuesday's match, which was played at Columbus' Crew Stadium (ESPN).

DEFINITE HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Fox Sports' Cobi Jones said the atmosphere at Crew Stadium for the match was "absolutely brilliant." Jones noted he has "seen supporters before," but he has to "give a lot of credit" to fans at the game. Jones: "They made you feel like you can run down and be part of the team on the field. They were the 12th man in this game." Fox Sports' Warren Barton said the "passion and the energy in that stadium" caused the U.S. players to ride "the wave" of emotion from the crowd ("Fox Soccer Daily," FS1, 9/11). ESPN's Taylor Twellman said, "There's a reason why U.S. Soccer has chosen … (to) have the game in Columbus and not make more money and not have it in bigger stadiums and different places. It's 100% pro-American in that crowd" ("ESPN FC," ESPN2, 9/11). In San Diego, Mark Zeigler notes the crowd of 24,584 at Crew Stadium "was not the largest crowd to see the U.S. national team," but it was the "loudest ... and the most partisan and most patriotic." However, a lot of what happened Tuesday "was contrived, more scripted than spontaneous, more nurture than nature." The U.S. Soccer Federation "allocated more than one-third of the stadium to official supporters clubs, and it limited access to the general public through carefully orchestrated presales and offers" to MLS Crew season-ticket holders. Zeigler: "That said, the atmosphere was electric and relentless and impactful" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/12).
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