2nd UPDATE, 1:28 PM: More numbers are in for last night’s FIFA Women’s World Cup final and the final tally is just going up and up like those winning goals from TeamUSA over Japan on the pitch. Already the most-viewed U.S. soccer game ever in earlier numbers, Sunday’s match in Vancouver between the reigning champs and the now three-time winning Americans has gone up to a total viewership of 25.4 million. With a 7.9 rating among adults 18-49 and a household rating of 12.9, the game seems to have peaked in the 8:30 – 8:45 PM period with 30.9 million tuning in to see Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, who scored 3 goals early in the game, and the rest of the team make their 5-2 win official in the closing minutes.
To put in perspective, last night’s WWC Final up 89% in viewers over the 2011 match where Japan beat the U.S.Among the key demo, the 2015 WWC Final rose 68% from the 18-49 results for the 2011 WWC Final. To put that huge viewership number in greater context, the match drew a bigger audience than every game of the record breaking 2015 NBA Finals and the average of all the primetime series on the Big 4 in the 2014-15 season average, including Sunday Night Football. It just fell short of the 28.3 million who watched the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game on CBS on April 6. Sunday’s game from a packed BC Place was also the most women’s soccer match ever on Spanish-language TV with the Telemundo broadcast getting an audience of 1.27 million.
UPDATE, 8:45 AM: An American win is always good ratings news for an American network, but last night’s resounding 5-2 U.S. victory over Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup (6.4/23) was a screaming goal for Fox. In early numbers, the historic primetime match played in Vancouver is up 36% among adults 18-49 compared with the 2011 Women’s World Cup final. That July 17 daytime ESPN broadcast saw Japan beat the U.S. with 14.1 million watching TVs here in the States. Sunday’s game had a 44% surge in viewership with an audience of 20.35 million.
While adjustments will occur, right now last night’s 7-9 PM game is the most-watched soccer game in U.S. TV history. It beats the previous record of 18.22 million who watched the USA-Portugal game in the 2014 men’s World Cup on ESPN on June 22 last year. Fox’s 9 PM post-game show drew a 4.7/15 rating with 14.61 million watching the commentary and celebrations as Team USA became the only team ever to win three Women’s World Cups. With record numbers last night and for this entire tournament, Fox easily won the night with a 5.3/18 rating and 16.75 million watching.
Fox wasn’t the only network with sports on last night, with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 (0.8/3) on NBC. However, the race was delayed by weather and didn’t start until 11:45 PM ET which means those early numbers are way off the track. Expect adjustments there as well. This is the first NASCAR race on NBC since the new contract the network signed with the organization. Then network previous had the series from 2001-2006.
CBS’ only original of the night was Big Brother (1.6/5) at 8 PM. On a competitive night, the vet reality series was down 20% from last week to match a Sunday low in preliminary numbers. ABC saw declines too with Celebrity Family Feud (1.5/5) and BattleBots (1.2/4) down 21% and 14%, respectively.
PREVIOUS, 7:36 AM: July 5th might end up becoming a national holiday of its own if last night is anything to go by. The USA’s 5-2 victory over reigning champion Japan in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday was history in the making with the winners now the only team ever to win the tournament three times. It was also historic when it comes to the ratings, with the game scoring a 15.2/27 metered market result for Fox, according to Nielsen. Not only is that a 77% rise compared with the 2011 Women’s World Cup final on ESPN where Japan beat the U.S., but last night’s 7-9 PM match from a packed BC Place in Vancouver is the highest MM result for a soccer game on a single network in U.S. TV history, topping the 13.3 rating for the 1999 Women’s World Cup where the U.S. beat China for its first world title.
Coming after last year’s successful men’s World Cup, this year’s Women’s World Cup has proven a double-digit success for Fox, with ratings rises of around 40% compared with 2011’s tournament. Looking at the 2011 final, that daytime game pulled in an audience of around 14.1 million.
The U.S.’s semifinal victory over Germany in primetime on June 30 on Fox ended up getting a 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 and drawing 8.4 million viewers. That was the best result of the 2015 WWC so far and the third most watched women’s soccer match TV result ever in final nationals. Expect that record to be broken by last night’s match. We’ll update with more numbers as they come in.
In the meantime, here’s some other results to check out. Starting with two quick goals by Carli Lloyd, the rout actually peaked in MM rating with an 18.3/31 in the 8:45-9 PM period as Team USA celebrated its big win. The top 5 local markets for last night’s game:
1. Kansas City — 20.6/35
2. St. Louis — 20.5/33
3. San Diego — 19.5/41
4. Denver — 19.4/36
5. Austin — 19.1/37