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.