Nielsen says an estimated 21.6 million people watched Belgium knock out the U.S. soccer team in the World Cup ?an impressive total for a weekday afternoon.
The audience stands behind the 24.7 million who watched the United States play Portugal on June 24, which tied the 2010 World Cup final for the biggest audience for a televised soccer match in the United States.
Nielsen said Wednesday that 16.5 million people watched the Belgium game on ESPN, with 5.1 million seeing it on the Spanish-speaking Univision network. In addition, nearly 1.7 million people watched an online stream of the event.
Nielsen does not measure viewership in bars, offices or other public places, meaning the actual audience was higher.