The 2019 Women’s World Cup rolls into the quarterfinal stages on the back of some of the finest ratings that the tournament has ever seen, a signal that world is finally coming around to the beauty of women’s soccer as well as the ebbing of the prejudice that has prevented the sport from reaching its full potential, according to a report by The Guardian.
In the United States, the dominating performances of the women’s national team has given Fox Sports’ coverage improved ratings across the board, with Multichannel News reporting that the tournament has so far garnered 1.07 million viewers, up 16 percent through day two of the Round of 16 in 2015 (927,000 viewers) and up 92 percent compared to 2011 through the Group Stage, which didn’t contain a Round of 16. While the United States’ Monday afternoon matchup against Spain on Fox Sports 1 saw the 3.1 million in viewing figures 16 percent below their 2015 Round of 16 match, that doesn’t factor in that it was a primetime kickoff.
In England, 6.9 million watched the national team’s victory over Cameroon on Sunday, and the BBC has revealed that three of the team’s matches at the Women’s World Cup rank in its top 10 most-watched soccer games of 2019. Only the FA Cup final and Manchester United’s FA Cup matches against Arsenal and Chelsea drew higher peak numbers than the English Women’s National Team.
France’s match against Brazil drew the highest-ever viewing figures globally for a Women’s World Cup game, FIFA told The Guardian, with 10.6 million French joining 35 million in Brazil to watch the thrilling match between the two top sides. The Netherlands saw it’s fourth-best rating for any sporting event in the country in 2019 with 3.54 million viewers.
This World Cup is a new peak in global interest in women's football. French women's team are getting higher viewing figures than the world champion men. So what's the next step? Me @FT https://t.co/I2tS3bOGk7
— Simon Kuper (@KuperSimon) June 27, 2019
Italy’s surprising run to the quarterfinals has also brought unprecedented interest and record viewers to the tournament, with Italian manager Milena Bertolini commenting, “I know cultural changes take a lot of time, but this team are able to break down some of those prejudices. That’s their mission.”
Lynsey Douglas, who is the women’s sport global lead at Nielsen, spoke of the global success of the tournament.
“The audiences for this Women’s World Cup have been breaking records all around the world, with plenty of free to air coverage attracting audiences in the millions. And while there are still eight games remaining, we fully expect this to be the most watched women’s tournament in history.”
Given that the United States and some of the largest countries in Europe are still involved in the tournament, it is not hard to see that result achieved.