FIFA Women’s World Cup opener draws record 9.83m viewers for TF1
French free-to-air broadcaster TF1 recorded a total 9.83 million viewers tune in to watch the game, which saw the hosts run out comfortable 4-0 winners over South Korea.
The broadcast enjoyed an impressive 44 per cent viewing market share in France and peaked at 10.9 million, smashing the country’s previous best for a women’s game of 4.12 million.
Pay-TV channel Canal+ drew a further 800,000 viewers, bringing the total to 10.6 million for French broadcasters.
By comparison, TF1 secured 12.6 million viewers for France’s opening game against Australia at last year’s men’s World Cup in Russia.
FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has set itself a target of one billion television viewers for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and will have been encouraged by the figures generated during the opening weekend.
British public service broadcaster the BBC reported a peak audience of 2.9 million for the opening game, despite the Lionesses not being involved.
The BBC's coverage of England's 2-1 win over Scotland on Sunday then attracted a peak TV viewership of 6.1 million and a 37.8 per cent share of the available audience, making it the UK's most watched women's soccer game of all time.
In the US Fox Sports recorded significant growth for the first two days of the international tournament, with its metered market Nielsen scores up 11 per cent over 2015 and 79 per cent over 2011.
Meanwhile, ahead of the tournament, FIFA announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UN Women to increase its efforts to empower women around the world and achieve gender equality.
“This is a significant moment for FIFA as we combine forces with UN Women to realise gender equality for women both on and off the pitch.” said Fifa president Gianni Infantino. “Together, we will raise awareness about women’s football and its impact in terms of health, empowerment and positive role models for women and girls around the world.”
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