×

Women’s World Cup Semifinal Scores Huge U.K. Ratings

England’s dramatic match against the USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals saw the Lionesses lose the game, but U.K. broadcaster the BBC win massive ratings.

The tournament has captured viewers’ imagination in the U.K. The semifinal in Lyon, France, garnered 11.7 million viewers. That was a 50.8% share and ranked as the highest peak audience of 2019 in the U.K. The ratings eclipse those for the likes of juggernaut dramas “Bodyguard” and “Line of Duty.”

British broadcasters expect big numbers for men’s soccer, but the recent ratings for games played by the England women’s team are unprecedented. A disallowed England goal, missed penalty, and sending off saw the team bow out 2 – 1 to the USA. Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored for the defending champions and tournament favorites.

The English team’s quarterfinal victory over Norway had set a women’s football viewing record in the U.K. just days earlier, with 7.6 million tuning in. The opening game against Scotland was seen by 6.1 million viewers. The overall numbers are higher than the ratings suggest, as many Brits watched matches in pubs and bars.

The Lionesses will play one more game in this World Cup, a third place play off, on Saturday, against the team that loses the Sweden versus Netherlands semifinal. The USA team take on the winners of that match in the final, Sunday.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • BritBox Is 'Not a Rival to

    BritBox 'Not a Rival to Netflix and Amazon' but Something Different, ITV Exec Says

    BritBox, ITV and the BBC’s joint “best of British” streaming service, is not being positioned as a rival to Netflix and Amazon but offers something those two streaming giants don’t, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Friday, Lygo said BritBox would be a “different thing” that allowed [...]

  • Stefano Sollima for Web Story

    'ZeroZeroZero' Creator on Making an Old Story New and How Andrea Riseborough Got Hurt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stefano Sollima, the Italian director known in Hollywood for “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and TV show “Gomorrah,” is the main creative force behind cocaine-trafficking series “ZeroZeroZero,” which will world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 5. Festival chief Alberto Barbera has praised it as blowing “Narcos” out of the water. Sollima directed [...]

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content