TV ratings for US Women’s National Team in 2017

Photo credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For the US Women’s National Team, TV ratings have been better the last few years than they have been at any point in history. However, similar to the men’s national team, the viewership figures for the women’s national team are trending downward, though for vastly different reasons. And like the men’s team, the downward trend for the women’s team figures to carry on for some time as the Women’s World Cup isn’t until the summer of 2019.

Now it should be said here that the downward trend for the USWNT viewership figures is not entirely unexpected. Ratings were down from 2015 to 2016 because there was no Women’s World Cup in 2016. Ratings are down from 2016 to 2017 because the Olympics were not held in 2017. That being said, the average for the WNT this year was 378,125 per game (which is down 47% from 721,450 in 2016 and down an astonishing 85% from 2,522,400 in 2015). Again, this is not really a referendum on the viewing public or support for the WNT as the team played no games of any real consequence in 2017. The average is down, as is the number of massive audiences. In 2015 there were seven games that drew at least 3 million viewers (all at the Women’s World Cup). In 2016 there were four games that drew at least 1 million viewers (all at the Olympics). However in 2017, there were no games with 1 million or more viewers.

While the overall numbers may be down, there are still plenty of reasons for WNT fans to be positive. Perhaps most importantly, every single game the WNT played in 2017 was shown live on TV (in 2016 five WNT games either weren’t shown live or weren’t shown at all and in 2015 there was one game that wasn’t on TV anywhere).

Secondly, a pair of the WNT games in 2017 made it onto network TV on FOX. Unsurprisingly, these two games were the two most watched games for the WNT this year. And while the ceiling has not been raised, the floor has. What that means is that while the most watched games weren’t nearly as watched as years past, the least watched games were more watched than the least watched games in previous years. For example, even in 2015 there were five games that drew under 200,000 viewers and in 2016 there were three such games. In 2017, that number has dropped to just one game of under 200,000 viewers (and it nearly made it there too).

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