On the final weekend of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, broadcasters around the world enjoyed record audiences as viewers flocked to watch the most important match in women’s football. It rounded off what has proven to be a watershed tournament that has seen the women’s game promoted and celebrated as never before.
In the Netherlands, an average audience of 5.481 million (34.5% of the potential TV audience) watched the Oranje Leeuwinnen in their first-ever Women’s World Cup final on NPO1. An astonishing 88.0% of people watching TV at the time were tuned in to the broadcast, exceeding any share recorded for a match at previous Women’s World Cups, the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO or the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Viewing peaked at around the final whistle when 6.316 million people were watching.
This beat the record set by the semi-final just a few days before (by 9.3%), for which the audience was 5.015 million, as well as the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO final between Netherlands and Denmark (4.111 million). It the most-watched programme on Dutch television since the 2014 World Cup semi-final (the Netherlands v. Argentina, 9.058 million).
Meanwhile in the USA, the defending champions’ victory over the Netherlands aired live on Sunday morning and achieved a combined audience of 15.277 million viewers (FOX: 13.982 million, Telemundo: 1.295 million), easily the highest audience of the tournament in the USA and also the highest audience of the weekend on US television. The FOX audience beat the channel’s audience for the 2018 World Cup final (11.33 million). Across FOX digital platforms, the final had an average audience of 289,000 viewers, a 402% increase on 2015 final.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup final was shown live in Brazil at midday local time, achieving a combined audience of 19.935 million viewers across TV Globo (19.054 million), SporTV (880,724) and Bandeirantes. TV Globo’s share of viewing for the final was a very impressive 41.7%, with the audience peaking at 21.635 million viewers.
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This is easily the largest ever neutral Women’s World Cup match audience in Brazil, the previous high being 6.262 million for the 2011 Sweden v. Australia quarter-final. Viewership of 2019 final is also more than double the combined audience for the 2007 Women’s World Cup final (9.296 million viewers across Bandeirantes and SporTV), which involved Brazil (v. Germany).
In the UK, the final attracted an average audience of 3.248 million viewers (5.4% TV rating), bringing BBC1 an impressive 31.5% share of viewing. The audience was up by 18.6% on the 2.739 million viewers for the match for third place between England and Sweden on the same channel the previous day.
It became most-watched Women’s World Cup final on record in the UK, also exceeding any audience from the previous four editions of the Women’s World Cup or the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO. The final was the second most viewed neutral match of the tournament (behind only the primetime coverage of France v. the USA with 3.833 million).
In Sweden, TV4’s coverage of England v. Sweden was watched by 1.507 million viewers, by far the most-watched broadcast of the weekend on Swedish television, also with an impressive 70.5% share. Together with the C More Live average audience of 93,000 viewers, the combined average audience for the match for third place was 1.600 million viewers.
Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final on TV4 reached an average audience of 1.087 million viewers, with a 62.0% share of viewing, becoming the highest neutral audience of the tournament.
In the host country of the Women’s World Cup 2019, a combined audience of 5.946 million viewers – 10.2% of the potential audience – watched the final on TF1 (5.26 million, 41.2% share) and Canal+ (0.686 million, 1.2%), making it the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup final on record in France. Still, the England v. USA semi-final remained the highest-rated neutral match of the tournament (6.227 million).
In Germany, ARD’s live coverage of the USA v. Netherlands final achieved an average audience of 5.102 million viewers (28.0% share), which was the highest neutral match audience of the tournament and 7.6% greater than the 4.740 million viewers achieved by the France v. USA quarter-final (ZDF).
The FIFA Women’s World Cup final rounded off a tournament of very strong audiences in Italy, attracting a combined average audience of 1.924 million viewers (Rai2: 1.468 million, Sky Sport Serie A: 455,523 viewers). This was the third-highest neutral match audience of the tournament in Italy behind 1.978 million for France v. the USA and 1.935 million for England v. the USA.
In Spain, the final was the highest neutral match of the tournament with an average audience of 488,516 watching on GOL.
Live coverage of the final aired in China on CCTV 5 at 23:00 local time and achieved an average audience of 4.913 million. The broadcast delivered a share of 8.1%, nearly four times the channel’s average share of viewing (2.1%). This audience exceeds those achieved by any of China’s competing matches in the tournament (all airing at 24:00 or later), with the exception of their first group match against Germany (12.032 million), which aired at 20:00 local time.
undoubtedly the biggest women sporting event has inspired a new following and interest across the board. These statistics do not include digital streaming or out of home viewing, but yet still quite an impressive levels of interest in women's football globally.