Women’s World Cup Final Sets Soccer Ratings Record: 25.4 Million Viewers on Fox

Womens World Cup Ratings
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

UPDATE:  USA’s victory over Japan in the Women’s World Cup title game has crushed the U.S. ratings record for soccer.

Nielsen estimates that Fox Sports averaged 25.4 million viewers for Sunday’s lopsided 5-2 result, which gave the U.S. its third Women’s World Cup championship. Viewership peaked with about 31 million from 8:30-8:45 p.m. ET.

The 25.4 million tune-in was a huge 88% higher than that for ESPN’s coverage of the same women’s teams in the 2011 title game (13.5 million) and 41% higher than the United States-China women’s championship game on ESPN in 1999 (18 million) — the two other times the U.S. reached the final.

It also shatters the previous English-language viewership record for soccer in the United States, set last year when 18.2 million watched the U.S.-Portugal contest on ESPN in the group-play round of the Men’s World Cup. Add in the roughly 1.3 million watching on Telemundo — the largest-ever audience for a women’s soccer match on a Spanish-language network —  and Sunday’s match attracted 26.7 million viewers in the States.

By comparison, the recent NBA Finals on ABC peaked with 23.25 million viewers for its sixth and final game. And no NBA game has drawn a larger audience since 2010. Similarly, no Major League Baseball game has drawn more viewers since the 2004 World Series.

Excluding the NFL postseason, the only higher-rated sporting events in the U.S. this year were the three games of the College Football Championship on ESPN (33.25 million for Ohio State-Oregon in the title game and more than 28 million for two semifinal games) and the men’s college basketball title game on CBS in April between Duke and Wisconsin (28.26 million).



The USA’s 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday in the Women’s World Cup final has set a new ratings high for a soccer telecast in the U.S.

Fox Sports reports that the 7-9 p.m. ET telecast averaged a 15.2 household rating/27 share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets. According to Fox, that marks a new high for a soccer telecast on a single network, topping the previous mark set in 1999 when the USA women last claimed the World Cup in a victory over China.

According to Fox, Sunday’s overnights are up 77% over ESPN’s telecast of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, when Japan beat the USA. The game proved a star-making showcase for USA player Carli Lloyd (pictured), who scored three goals within the first 20 minutes of play.

Sunday’s viewership peaked in the final 15 minutes of the telecast at 18.3/31.

The top five markets for the game were in the Midwest and Southwest: Kansas City (20.6/35), St. Louis (20.5/33), San Diego (19.5/41), Denver (19.4/36) and Austin (19.1/37).

In social media, the game drew 3.4 million Tweets in the U.S. that were seen by a unique audience of 11.1 million people, according to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. And roughly 9 million people had 20 million Facebook interactions related to the Women’s World Cup Final. After the United States, the most active countries on Facebook were Mexico, England, Canada and Brazil.


Soccer dominated the first half of primetime on Sunday, cutting into the ratings for 8 p.m. firstrun series “Big Brother” on CBS (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “Celebrity Family Feud” on ABC (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), both of which hit season lows in Nielsen’s preliminary national estimates. Following “Family Feud” on ABC, “Battlebots” also posted its lowest scores to date (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall).

TV Ratings Sunday, July 5, 2015
18-49 ratings/share
  1. 1.

    Women’s World Cup: USA vs. Japan

    (7:00 Fox)

    20.3 Million Viewers
  2. 2.

    Big Brother

    (8:00 CBS)

    5.1 Million Viewers
  3. 3.

    Celebrity Family Feud

    (8:00 ABC)

    6.9 Million Viewers
  4. 4.


    (9:00 ABC)

    4.3 Million Viewers
  5. 5.

    60 Minutes

    (7:00 CBS)

    6.5 Million Viewers

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  1. Crazy like a FOX says:

    Amazing! Congrats to FOX. seeing what women’s soccer did ratings wise makes me question why ÀBC which had sole ownership of the men’s soccer for so many years never bothered to air their WORLD CUP GAMES in prime time. ABC never takes advantage of all the big sporting events that they share with sisternetwork ESPN. Mens soccer could be a lot bigger right now. in the USA if they had a network supporting it that gave a damn .

  2. BillUSA says:

    Great. Wonderful. And ratings is all they’re going to have. Ratings were talked about when they last won the World Cup in 1999 and the sport is on it’s third American women’s league as of today.

    Face it ladies, there just isn’t a market for women’s sports to place it on equal or better footing than men’s sports. The match resembled every other women’s match I’ve watched over the last 20 years. It’s like watching a boys high school tilt.

    Not that I want it to be like that but women’s sports appeal to mostly women and by proportion, less women among women are interested in sports as men among men are. I think it’s great that they have a top-tier American women’s soccer league and that there is a WNBA, but they are respectively barely staying afloat and live off the NBA’s dime.

    I know it seems unfair, and many misguided a mind will assume that what athletes are paid is the root of the problem. Well, it isn’t. Men haul in more money in team sports because there is a greater interest in men’s sports. I know the female sexist’s out there will falsely attribute the reality to being part of some war on women but it’s simply not true.

    • brianna says:

      what does this have to do with the article? And they have a lot more than just the ratings they have a WORLD CUP! 💃🏻💃🏻⚽️🇺🇸

  3. This is awesome, what is not awesome is that the USA Women WORLD CHAMPIONS were paid 1/4 of what the USA Men were paid who made it to the round of 16. #levelthepayfield


    The whole team should be invited to the White House!

  5. Amy says:

    Thrilling opening 20 mins — a master class in strategy. Way to bring it home USA!

  6. Congratulations USA!

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