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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV Ratings, Sudden Death, and Sod Selling

PASADENA, California --World Cup television ratings in the United States are setting records for soccer but are still far from matching the number of viewers for events like American football's Super Bowl.

The Americans' 1-0 loss to Brazil on July 4 in the second round drew a record 8,761,000 households, a 9.3 rating, the A.C. Nielsen research firm reported Thursday. By comparison, the highest-rated sporting event in U.S. history was Super Bowl XVI, which garnered a 49.1 television rating in 1982.

Before this World Cup, the record U.S. rating for soccer was a 6.6 for Italy's 3-1 victory over West Germany in the 1982 World Cup final.

The ABC television network is averaging a 4.7 rating for 10 telecasts thus far, slightly above the 4.0 to 4.5 range that the U.S. organizer Alan Rothenberg said the network projected.

The rating is the percentage of televisions in the nation, and each point represents 942,000 households for the major networks.


The second-highest-ranking official of FIFA said Thursday that beginning with the 1998 World Cup, a 30-minute, sudden-death overtime will be used in World Cup elimination-round matches tied after 90 minutes of regulation time.

FIFA's general secretary, Joseph "Sepp"' Blatter also left open the possibility of instigating a sudden-death overtime with a longer time limit or even no time limit in the championship match, although he said FIFA's medical committee opposes the idea due to concerns about the players' physical well-being.

Under the current rules, if an elimination-round match is tied after 90 minutes, the teams play 30 minutes' overtime. If the score remains tied at the end of overtime, the match is decided by penalty kicks.


Mike Martocci,a firefighter, cradled in his arms a chunk of sod from the Giants Stadium where, he said with a wink, Roberto Baggio scored twice to lead Italy to the World Cup final.

Well, not quite, said Don Lockerbie, the stadium planner for the World Cup whose idea it was to sell off the sod at $20 a square foot where Italy defeated Bulgaria 2-1 a day earlier.

Martocci was among those lined up to buy sod from the field where Italy had clinched a berth in the World Cup finals. (AP, LAT, Reuters)