USWNT TV ratings for 2015-19 averaged 929K on US English-language television


This post is by Lawrence Dockery from World Soccer Talk


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        With the final TV numbers from the US Women&rsquo;s National Team&rsquo;s victory over the Netherlands at the Women&rsquo;s World Cup <a href="https://worldsoccertalk.com/2019/07/08/15-million-watched-womens-world-cup-final-on-us-television-and-streaming/">now available</a>, it&rsquo;s time to take a look at the TV ratings for the full World Cup cycle for the USWNT, as we did several months ago <a href="http://worldsoccertalk.com/2019/04/21/usmnt-viewing-audiences-2014-17-world-cup-qualifying-cycle/">for the USA men&rsquo;s team</a>.

         On a year to year basis, the USWNT TV ratings have been somewhat volatile.  In 2015, the WNT averaged 2,522,400 viewers per game for 25 games (though the data included here only uses the last nine games of 2015, as that&rsquo;s when the most recent cycle started).  In 2016, the average viewership fell to 721,450 per game through 20 games.  In 2017 it fell again, this time all the way down to 378,125 per game over the course of 16 games.  The year 2018 saw a third straight year of decline as the average fell to 302,421 <!--more--> game after 19 games.  The year 2019, however, saw a massive, epic rebound (big games in a big tournament tend to have that effect).  Following the Women&rsquo;s World Cup Final against the Netherlands, average viewership in 2019 currently stands at 2,706,412 per game after 17 games.  That&rsquo;s quite impressive. 

         Here&rsquo;s the full set of numbers from August 2015 to July 2019.  Please note that these figures only include the English language viewership. 

8/16/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica – FS1 – 315,000
8/19/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica – ESPN2 – 274,000
9/17/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Haiti – FS1 – 207,000
9/20/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Haiti – ESPN2 – 173,000
10/21/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Brazil – ESPN2 – 331,000
10/25/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Brazil – FS1 – 249,000
12/10/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – ESPN2 – 342,000
12/13/15 – Friendly – USA vs. China – ESPN2 – 489,000
12/16/15 – Friendly – USA vs. China – FS1 – 709,000
1/23/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Republic of Ireland – FS1 – 268,000
2/15/16 – Olympic Qualifier – USA vs. Puerto Rico – NBCSN – 243,000
2/19/16 – Olympic Qualifier – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – NBCSN – 329,000
3/3/16 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England – FS1 – 293,000
4/6/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Colombia – FS1 – 296,000
4/10/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Colombia – ESPN – 622,000
6/2/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Japan – FS1 – 299,000
6/5/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Japan – ESPN2 – 434,000
7/9/16 – Friendly – USA vs. South Africa – FS1 – 323,000
7/22/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica – ESPN – 488,000
8/3/16 – Olympics – USA vs. New Zealand* – NBCSN – 1,300,000
8/6/16 – Olympics – USA vs. France* – NBCSN – 2,900,000
8/9/16 – Olympics – USA vs. Colombia* – NBCSN – 3,600,000
8/12/16 – Olympics – USA vs. Sweden* – NBCSN – 1,850,000
9/15/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Thailand – ESPN2 – 266,000
9/18/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Netherlands – FS1 – 243,000
10/19/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Switzerland – ESPN2 – 169,000
10/23/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Switzerland – FS1 – 149,000
11/10/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Romania – ESPN2 – 212,000
11/13/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Romania – FS1 – 145,000
3/1/17 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Germany – FS1 – 310,000
3/4/17 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England – FOX – 728,000
3/7/17 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. France – FS1 – 279,000
4/6/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Russia – FS1 – 253,000
4/9/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Russia – ESPN – 384,000
6/8/17 – Friendly – USA at Sweden – ESPN2 – 205,000
6/11/17 – Friendly – USA at Norway – FOX – 778,000
7/27/17 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Australia – ESPN – 474,000
7/30/17 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Brazil – ESPN – 643,000
8/3/17 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Japan – ESPN2 – 538,000
9/15/17 – Friendly – USA vs. New Zealand – ESPN2 – 272,000
9/19/17 – Friendly – USA vs. New Zealand – FS1 – 270,000
10/19/17 – Friendly – USA vs. South Korea – FS1 – 197,000
10/22/17 – Friendly – USA vs. South Korea – ESPN – 234,000
11/9/17 – Friendly – USA at Canada – ESPN2 – 250,000
11/12/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Canada – FS1 – 235,000
1/21/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Denmark – ESPN – 304,000
3/1/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Germany – ESPN2 – 354,000
3/4/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. France – ESPN2 – 397,000
4/5/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – FS1 – 165,000
4/8/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – FOX – 627,000
6/7/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – FS1 – 247,000
6/12/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – ESPN2 – 336,000
7/26/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Japan – FS1 – 196,000
7/29/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Australia – FS1 – 386,000
8/2/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Brazil – FS1 – 332,000
8/31/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – ESPN2 – 236,000
9/4/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – ESPN2 – 259,000
10/4/18 – Women’s World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. Mexico – FS2 – 131,000
10/7/18 – Women’s World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. Panama – FS1 – 192,000
10/10/18 – Women’s World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – FS1 – 239,000
10/14/18 – Women’s World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. Jamaica – FS1 – 299,000
10/17/18 – Women’s World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. Canada – FS1 – 736,000
11/8/18 – Friendly – USA at Portugal – ESPN2 – 149,000
11/13/18 – Friendly – USA at Scotland – FS1 – 161,000
1/19/19 – Friendly – USA at France – FS1 – 214,000
1/22/19 – Friendly – USA at Spain – ESPN2 – 200,000
2/27/19 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Japan – FS1 – 283,000
3/2/19 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England – FOX – 758,000
3/5/19 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Brazil – FS1 – 278,000
4/4/19 – Friendly – USA vs. Australia – FS1 – 205,000
4/7/19 – Friendly – USA vs. Belgium – ESPN2 – 439,000
5/12/19 – Friendly – USA vs. South Africa – FOX – 705,000
5/16/19 – Friendly – USA vs. New Zealand – ESPN2 – 261,000
5/26/19 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – ESPN – 615,000
6/11/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. Thailand* – FOX – 2,626,000
6/16/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. Chile* – FOX – 5,324,000
6/20/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. Sweden* – FOX – 3,741,000
6/24/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. Spain* – FS1 – 3,145,000
6/28/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA at France – FOX – 6,124,000
7/2/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. England* – FOX – 7,101,000
7/7/19 – Women’s World Cup – USA vs. Netherlands* – FOX – 13,990,000

Total Viewership: 75,323,000
Average Viewership: 929,914

*denotes game played at a neutral site

        That&rsquo;s a lot of data to digest but a few things stand out. 

         First is that, as was the case for the MNT, games that air on big FOX (as opposed to FS1 or even FS2) tend to draw the largest audiences.  And yes obviously six of the WNT&rsquo;s seven games from this past World Cup were on FOX.  But over the course of the last four years FOX has opted to put several friendly games, as well as several games from the She Believes Cup, on their over the air network which has caused a big boost for those particular games. 

         Another thing that stands out is that some of the biggest and most important games drew some of the smallest audiences.  Both of the Olympic Qualifying games that were shown on NBCSN (more on that at the end of the story) drew under 350,000 viewers and four of the five World Cup Qualifying games drew under 300,000 viewers.  The Women&rsquo;s World Cup Qualifier Final against Canada drew a solid number but it had the benefit of a good lead-in from Game 5 of the NCLS between the LA Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers.  It should be noted here that both of those events are controlled and marketed by CONCACAF as opposed to US Soccer. 

         On the flip side, the tournaments set up by US Soccer drew very well on TV.  She Believes Cup and the Tournament of Nations pit the US against the biggest and the best that the rest of the world has to offer, and the numbers reflect that. 

Note:

The following games played by the USWNT were not included in this set of data either because they were not shown live on TV or aired on a network that is not tracked by Nielsen, meaning a viewership figure is unavailable:

2/10/16 – Olympic Qualifying – USA vs. Costa Rica
2/13/16 – Olympic Qualifying – USA vs. Mexico
2/21/16 – Olympic Qualifying – USA vs. Canada
3/6/16 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. France
3/9/16 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Germany
3/7/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England