USWNT TV viewership declines 20% in 2018

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an ugly year across the board for US Soccer. Attendance is down for the USMNT and USWNT, while TV ratings dropped sharply for the US men’s team.

As it turns out TV viewership dropped for the US Women’s National Team as well, though not as sharply as with the men.

2018 USWNT TV Viewership:

USA vs. Denmark – 1/21 – Friendly – ESPN – 304,000 viewers
USA vs. Germany – 3/1 – She Believes Cup – ESPN2 – 354,000
USA vs. France – 3/4 – She Believes Cup – ESPN2 – 397,000
USA vs. England – 3/7 – She Believes Cup – ESPNNEWS – N/A
USA vs. Mexico – 4/5 – Friendly – FS1 – 165,000
USA vs. Mexico – 4/8 – Friendly – FOX – 627,000
USA vs. China – 6/7 – Friendly – FS1 – 247,000
USA vs. China – 6/12 – Friendly – ESPN2 – 336,000
USA vs. Japan – 7/26 – Tournament of Nations – FS1 – 196,000
USA vs. Australia – 7/29 – Tournament of Nations – FS1 – 386,000
USA vs. Brazil – 8/2 – Tournament of Nations – FS1 – 332,000
USA vs. Chile – 8/31 – Friendly – ESPN2 – 236,000
USA vs. Chile – 9/4 – Friendly – ESPN2 – 259,000
USA vs. Mexico – 10/4 – WWCQ – FS2 – 131,000
USA vs. Panama – 10/7 – WWCQ – FS1 – 192,000
USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – 10/10 – WWCQ – FS1 – 239,000
USA vs. Jamaica – 10/14 – WWCQ – FS1 – 299,000
USA vs. Canada – 10/17 – WWCQ – FS1 – 736,000
Portugal vs. USA – 11/8 – Friendly – ESPN2 – 149,000
Scotland vs. USA – 11/13 – Friendly – FS1 – 161,000

• Total Viewership: 5,746,000
• Average Viewership: 302,421

Note: The She Believes Cup game against England on 3/7 aired in ESPNEWS, which is not tracked by Nielsen so the viewership number is unavailable.

The 302,421 viewing average represents a 20% drop from 2018 to 2017. It’s also the third straight year of TV viewership decline for the women from a staggering high of 2,522,400 in 2015 way down to 721,450 in 2016, down to 378,125 last year to the 302,421 this year.

Two of the games on here stood out though: the friendly against Mexico in April got a very solid 627,000 viewership, which makes sense given that it aired on the over-the-air FOX network. The second is that the Women’s World Cup qualifier against Canada that averaged 736,000, which is significantly higher than any other women’s games this year. Now, it could be because it was against a rival, but after my research, the game had an excellent lead-in with Game 5 of the NLCS between the LA Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers on FS1 immediately before it.

As was the case with the attendance, the TV viewership metrics are down. But with the Women’s World Cup next summer, TV ratings should go climb considerably. They probably won’t get to the same levels as they did in 2015 (with that edition of the tournament in Canada and next summer being in France) but they should still post some excellent numbers. And it appears that the team should make a deep run, so that helps as well.

Should the US Women’s National Team make it to their third straight Women’s World Cup Final, the TV viewership average for 2019 may get close to that of 2015.

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