Even though the USWNT is coming home after a loss to Sweden, it pulled in considerable viewers during its 5 a.m. ET kickoff. The round of 16 loss is the earliest exit for the USWNT in its Women’s World Cup history. Even though the squad showed some cracks in its form during the group stage, it still had full support from audiences back home.
English-language audiences on FOX averaged 2.5 million viewers. Then, the Spanish-language audience on Telemundo, Peacock, Universo and related streaming platforms was 274,000. That is the highest Spanish-language audience for a non-primetime match at the Women’s World Cup.
Therefore, the total average audience in the United States was 2.79 million viewers. Only the USWNT’s Portugal game got fewer viewers. However, that was a group-stage game, and that contest started earlier than this kickoff against Sweden. Moreover, FOX’s audience peaked at over 4 million. The broadcaster said that from 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. ET, the match peaked at 4,072,000 viewers. Again, that is only on FOX. That would be during the penalty shootout, which got the whole soccer world talking.
The top markets for the USWNT loss against Sweden in terms of viewers were Washington, D.C., Austin, Baltimore, Detroit and West Palm Beach.
USWNT viewers in Sweden loss show slight growth from 2019
Even though the play on the pitch was not as fruitful, the viewership on FOX is up compared to 2019, albeit marginally. FOX said that average viewership over the first four games of 2019 was 2% lower than that of this year. Granted, the quarterfinal, semifinal and Final all got the most viewers for FOX as the USWNT was involved.
However, some solace out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup performance for FOX is that two of the USWNT’s games were at frankly terrible times for American viewership. Kickoffs at 4 a.m. ET and 5 a.m. ET are not kind to those watching Stateside. Still, they, on average, outperformed the first four games of the 2019 tournament.
The USWNT’s exit from the competition certainly does damage to how many viewers FOX and Telemundo may get over the remainder of the competition. What may help is that of the eight teams still alive, many are traditional powers that are growing their women’s game. Spain, England, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan and Australia all have a legitimate shot at winning the competition. Those can provide enticing matchups based on how the rest of the tournament shakes out.
PHOTO: IMAGO / NurPhoto
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