World Cup and N.B.A. draft boost a big day at ESPN

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NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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Alex Weprin

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On an otherwise slow summer Thursday in the world of television, ESPN had one of its strongest ratings days in recent memory, thanks to the U.S.-Germany World Cup game in the afternoon, and coverage of the N.B.A. Draft in the evening.

ESPN had 10.77 million viewers for the U.S.-Germany game, which kicked off at 12 p.m., not an ideal time for a live television event, with a good chunk of the country at work. The ratings do not count people watching in offices, restaurants or bars, but only viewers watching at home. The U.S. lost 1-0, but still advanced to the next round. The U.S.-Portugal game on Sunday evening drew over 18.2 million viewers, thanks in part to its prime timeslot.

On Univision Deportes, some 3.4 million people tuned into Spanish-language broadcast of the U.S.-Germany game, with an additional 1.7 million watching the game online through Univision's livestream.

ESPN had 3.2 million watching online, peaking with 1.7 million people watching concurrently on WatchESPN, the most ever on that service. The 3.4 million figure is 10 percent of the total audience, making it a significant television event that was not watched on television for a significant chunk of the audience.

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In primetime, ESPN's coverage of the N.B.A. Draft delivered the highest ratings ever for that event on the channel, with 3.45 million viewers tuning in. It was also the most-watched N.B.A. Draft since 1995.

Whether it was boosted by viewers who had tuned in earlier for the World Cup is unclear, but there is a good possibility that many TVs were set to ESPN earlier in the day.