As someone who knows just about nothing regarding soccer, it has been quite the journey following the Women’s USA soccer team on their quest to win the World Cup. I knew that if this team was going to win, it had to be big and conclusively. And that’s exactly what Team USA did, both on the pitch and in the ratings. The 2-0 win, with both goals from Captain Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, became the teams second consecutive championship.
While the game was a big win for Team USA, it was also a big win for broadcaster, Fox. Despite the early start time, the American victory was seen by over 14 million viewers - outperforming last year’s men’s World Cup Final by more than 20%. This massive audience was ranked as the largest Stateside soccer match since 2015 – the last time the women’s team brought home the trophy. With 27% of all U.S households watching television at the time of the game tuning in to watch Sunday’s game, may give marketers some thought as the sport continues to grow in popularity. As Ad Age reporter Anthony Crupi noted on Twitter, that 14 million viewer figure beats most of this year’s World Series and NBA Finals games and every edition of ESPN’s Monday Night Football — an amazing feat given the match aired on a Sunday morning during a holiday weekend, with West Coast viewers having to get up by 8 a.m. to watch.
Across streaming platforms, this popular match pulled in an average of 289,000 viewers every minute. Crazy, right? Additionally, on Telemundo Deportes, a Spanish-language network who also broadcasted the final, broke a previous record held by the 2015 WWC Final by 22%. This network reported that they had a Total Audience Delivery average of 1.6 million viewers via TV and streaming.
Sunday’s championship was the women’s fourth World Cup victory, a new FIFA record. Nike also released a statement stating that the team’s winning streak has helped fuel sales merchandise, including Nike sports jerseys. Nike stated that jersey sales have surged 200% compared with the last tournament four years ago, according to CNBC.
This tournament has been setting rating records not only in the U.S., but also around the world. The semi-final between England and the U.S. team gathered 11.7 million viewers in the U.K. alone. Viewership in the Netherlands for the final reached record highs with 5.5 million watching, making it the most-watch women’s soccer match in Dutch television history. The trend continues with the matchup between France and Brazil reported as the most-watched women’s soccer match of all time, drawing 35 million viewers in Brazil and 10.6 million in France.
The entire tournament attracted an estimated 1 billion worldwide viewers, according to FIFA.