The 2011 Women’s World Cup final between the USA and Japan on Sunday made US television history, becoming the most watched soccer match in cable history and the second-highest-rated women's soccer match in US television history.
The 7.4 overnight Nielsen rating on ESPN for the final (13,458,000 viewers) was better than the audience registered for the dramatic group stage victory by the USMNT against Algeria, which previously held the highest mark for a soccer match (4.0 rating / 6,160,000 viewers). It’s no surprise that it’s also the second most-watched daytime telecast (6 a.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET) in cable history behind only the 2011 Rose Bowl on ESPN (20,557,000 viewers).
The USA vs. Japan women’s final now assumes its place as the No. 6 most-viewed soccer telecast in US television history. Here’s the list:
1. 1999 WWC Final USA vs. China (17,975,000 viewers)
2. 2010 MWC Final Holland vs. Spain (15,905,000 viewers)
3. 2010 MWC Round of 16 USA vs. Ghana (15,193,000 viewers)
4. 1994 MWC Final Italy vs. Brazil (14,510,000 viewers)
5. 1994 MWC Round of 16 USA vs. Brazil (13,694,000 viewers)
6. 2011 WWC Final USA vs. Japan (13,458,000 viewers)
The DMV, as the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia areas are known, were in the Top 5 markets for the Women’s World Cup final. Baltimore led the way with a 12.3 rating, followed by San Diego (11.8), West Palm Beach (11.7), Washington, D.C. (11.5) and Norfolk, Va. (11.1).