Soccer Ratings Win for World Cup Champs

Via NPR:  U.S. Women Shatter TV Ratings Record For Soccer With World Cup Win

While some 17 million American viewers tuned in to the 7 p.m. ET start of Sunday’s game, that number quickly grew to 21.86 million an hour later — and reached 22.86 million at 8:30 p.m. ET, according to preliminary data from industry website TV Media Insights.

Those figures are comparable to the 2014 World Series’ Game 7, which attracted 23.5 million viewers — far more than any other game of the 2014 series.


As a comparison, consider that the Golden State Warriors’ recent title-clinching Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals earned a 15.9 overnight rating. That figure was hailed as a Game 6 record for ABC in a Finals series that drew the highest average numbers since the Michael Jordan era.

Which is pretty impressive for both the sport of soccer in the US and for women’s athletics in general.

It was a pretty amazing game, especially the first 15 minutes.

Update:  To see all five goals with some Andrés Cantor enthusiasm for each:  Listen To All Five U.S. Goals As Called By Telemundo’s Andrés Cantor

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Hal_10000 says:

    Why, it’s almost as if … people will watch women’s sports! And because they like women’s sports! Crazy.

    The best thing about the blowout: it meant that Wambach got to be on the field when it ended.

  2. Dutch Reagan says:

    Wake me up when the NFL kicks off.

  3. Franklin says:

    Nice viewership numbers! I’ve never played soccer, still don’t really know the rules, but I thought it was fun. We watched most of the games and my boys were really into it. I don’t think they would even understand if you tried to explain that some insecure men have a problem watching women’s sports.

    That said, college football (yes, talking about American football here) is still my favorite sport to watch.

  4. Tyrell says:

    I watched some of the game. At least there wasn’t the usual 1-0 or 2-1 score. The fields look a mile long and some of the rules are confusing. After getting sleepy I changed over to a baseball game and then waited for the Daytona race.
    Soccer will not catch on here as a tv sport: too slow and too long.

  5. @Tyrell:

    Soccer will not catch on here as a tv sport: too slow and too long.

    As with all such things, it is a matter of taste. Even though, for example, I can enjoy a baseball game, I find them too long and too slow to watch regularly(although as a side note, one of the most exciting baseball games in a 1-0 game, which is also true in soccer. Low scoring is not, ipso facto boring and I always find it amusing when people who extol baseball complain about low scoring soccer games).

    BTW: the average baseball game is almost 3 hours in length. A soccer game without overtime is an hour and a half of playing time (plus a few minutes of stoppage time per half) and halftime (let’s say two hours).

    And while soccer leagues may never catch on in the US, the post you are commenting upon proves rather definitively that soccer tournaments, or at least the World Cup, have, in fact, caught on as a TV sport. (There is actual evidence to support the proposition). We saw this with the men’s World Cup as well. I suspect that the Gold Cup ratings will be decent as well (which starts today).

  6. (Sure, soccer purists who proclaim that the game will soon take its place among the major US leagues are obnoxious, but so are people who are dismissive in the face of actual evidence).

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tyrell: Do you not realize that a 2 – 1 soccer match is the same as 14 – 7 football game?

  8. @Gromitt Gunn: That can’t be true–because 14 is bigger than 2 and 7 is bigger than 1.

    What kind of nonsense you trying to pull here?

  9. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tyrell: Too slow and long? A soccer match is over in nearly half the time of an NFL game and the players don’t spend half of it standing around. Soccer is non-stop action. Gridiron football is too rule-bound and ritualistic to be exciting.

  10. Ben Wolf says:

    The Japanese were physically overmatched by the American players which the latter exploited ruthelessly. That alone doesn’t win games, of course; the Japanese defeated other teams with similar advantages. They just weren’t there mentally during the first half when the Americans were beating them up like some junior soccer team.

  11. ernieyeball says:

    I think we know what Mr. Gunn is trying to say. A 2-1 futbol score means 1 team has 2 goals and another team has 1 goal.
    NFL football game score 14-7 however does not mean one team has scored twice and the other team once.
    An NFL score of 7 means a team has scored at least twice. Touchdown 6 pts and Point After TD 1 pt. A field goal at 3 pts and 2 safety scores (2 pts each) is also 7 points on three scores.

  12. @ernieyeball: I was being sarcastic.

    And yes, while a 14-7 football game might mean more than 3 total scores (counting the TD and PAT as one score), the odds are good that 14-7 means 3 TDs.

    A field goal at 3 pts and 2 safety scores (2 pts each) is also 7

    This is true. However, I have to wonder how many times in all of pro and college football that that combination has ever happened. It has to be exceptionally rare.

  13. ernieyeball says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:.. I was being sarcastic.

    Yes. Well maybe I took Gunns shot at trying to compare futbol and football too seriously.
    Then again, I was trying to be a wiseass…

  14. @ernieyeball: Gunn has a point: a 2-1 soccer score and a 2TD v. 1TD NFL game has a certain amount of similarity.

    Although, really, given the drama associated with a typical 2-1 soccer match, the 2-1 soccer match is probably more exciting than a typical 14-7 NFL game.

  15. Keep in mind: while I am defending soccer here, my game of spectating choice is the NFL. The NFL Redzone channel is my Sunday friend each weekend during the season.

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I was not attacking football. I was countering the argument that the reason the American populace would never watch soccer is because of the low scoring, when people watch football games all the time that take longer to watch and have equally low volume of scores.

    However, I must say that I don’t consider the extra point to be a separate score. It is part of the same offensive attack, and can only happen if a touchdown has already been scored. It is part of an IF, THEN, not an EITHER OR.

  17. ernieyeball says:

    It is part of an IF, THEN, not an EITHER OR.

    NFL could fix that up right quick by adopting Rule 3 Article 4 of the Canadian Football League Rule Book.

    Article 4 – Single Point Or Rouge
    If the ball is kicked into the Goal Area by an opponent, a rouge is scored:
    (1) when the ball becomes dead in possession of a team in its own Goal Area or,
    (2) when the ball touches or crosses the Dead Line or a Sideline in Goal, and touches the ground, a player or some object beyond these lines.

  18. Franklin says:

    @Ben Wolf: Well, soccer is non-stop but there’s relatively little variety and strategy compared to football. There is something nice about it’s simplicity, however, and it’s not difficult to see why people prefer one or the other.