The first-ever NWSL game televised on Lifetime averaged 82,000 viewers this past Saturday for the game between Portland Thorns and Orlando Pride.
To put that into context, it’s the third best viewing number for a televised NWSL opening game in the past five years. In 2014, ESPN2’s broadcast had 177,000 viewers. In 2015, the opener averaged 91,000. Then there’s the aforementioned 2017 NWSL opener on Lifetime. In 2016, the game on FOX Soccer had 65,000 viewers. And last but not least, the 2013 opening game had 63,000 viewers on FOX Soccer.
While the 82,000 number is positive for NWSL and Lifetime, the worrying metric is that the pregame show averaged 131,000 viewers from 2:30-3pm ET. So for the game itself (televised from 3-5pm ET), there was a dropoff of almost 50,000 viewers.
The good news for NWSL is that Lifetime is in 90 million homes, so hopefully the broadcasts of the women’s soccer games on the channel will generate more viewers in the future.