Women’s World Cup 2019 watched by record 1.12bn viewers, says FIFA

Women’s World Cup 2019 watched by record 1.12bn viewers, says FIFA
Soccer’s global governing body FIFA has announced that this year’s Women’s World Cup in France was watched by a record-breaking 1.12 billion viewers across all platforms.

The figure, which accounts for viewers watching on television at home, on digital platforms or out-of-home, smashes the number clocked during the previous edition of the international women’s soccer tournament in Canada in 2015, when more than 750 million watched the event.

FIFA added that 993.5 million viewers watched at least one minute of coverage on TV alone, while 481.5 million tuned in via digital platforms, up from 86 million in 2015. It was noted by the governing body that the digital audience overlaps with the linear TV audience. 

In addition, the United States women’s national team’s (USWNT) 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final of the tournament was the most watched Women’s World Cup match ever, with an average live audience of 82.18 million, apparently reaching 236.62 million unique viewers. Across all 52 games, the average live match audience was 17.27 million.

FIFA said ahead of the Women’s World Cup that it was optimistic of reaching a global audience of more than one billion. The tournament was aired by 62 broadcasters across 205 territories, with many participating teams’ matches breaking viewing records in their home markets, including in host nation France, Brazil and the UK.

“More than a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a cultural phenomenon attracting more media attention than ever before and providing a platform for women’s football to flourish in the spotlight,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“The fact that we broke the one billion target just shows the pulling power of the women’s game and the fact that, if we promote and broadcast world-class football widely, whether it’s played by men or women, the fans will always want to watch.”

The figure remains considerably less than the number of viewers for last year’s men’s equivalent in Russia, which according to FIFA was watched by 3.572 billion people across all platforms.

Coincidentally, the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between France and Croatia roped in a combined global audience of 1.12 billion, the same number that FIFA says tuned in over the course of the entire women’s tournament.

FIFA has already announced plans to further develop women’s soccer on the back of the success of this year’s World Cup. The next edition of the tournament in four years’ time is set to expand to 32 teams, while Infantino has also promised to more than double the prize money on offer.

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