Throw the audience a 7-1 blowout that was over by the 30th minute? People watched in record amounts. Throw them a listless 0-0 draw that went to penalty kicks, yet had little drama even in that stage? People watched. Summer of World Cup rolls on.

The Argentina-Netherlands semifinal match drew 6.8 million viewers to ESPN Wednesday. It is the highest-rated and most-watched World Cup semifinal ever on American television. The previous high? 6.6 million for the Brazil-Germany semifinal the day before. The friendly time zones have been a godsend to The Worldwide Leader.

Argentina’s victory was also the most-watched match ever on ESPN or ESPN2 to not feature the United States. 2.4 million unique viewers watched on WatchESPN/ESPN3. The World Cup semifinals, overall, were up 56 percent from 2010 and 45 percent from 2006.

The top 10 local markets featured most of the usual suspects: Baltimore (7.1), New York (7.0), Washington, DC (6.9), Hartford/New Haven (6.7), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (6.3), San Diego (6.3), San Francisco (6.1), Providence (5.8), Boston (5.3), and Columbus and Richmond/Petersburg (tied – 5.1).

Through 62 matches, the World Cup is averaging 4.28 million viewers for the Disney networks, up 43 percent from 2010 and 108 percent from 2006.

About Steve Lepore

Steve Lepore is a writer for Bloguin and a correspondent for SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

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