The US women's national team's 5-2 thumping of Japan in Sunday's Women's World Cup final broke new ground as the second-most-watched soccer match on a single network in US history, according to Nielsen ratings statistics released by Fox on Monday.
The riveting goal-fest at BC Place in Vancouver earned a 12.9 household rating/share with 25.4 million viewers, peaking at 30.9 million viewers between 8:30 and 8:45 pm ET. A whopping 43.2 million viewers watched all or part of the game.
Those numbers easily surpass the previous mark of 18,220,000, set by last year's USA vs. Portugal group-stage match during the men's World Cup in Brazil, and comfortably eclipse the record for a women’s soccer match, the 1999 Women’s World Cup final between the USWNT and China, which was watched by 17,975,000. The 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina still holds the mark for largest cumulative audience over multiple networks with over 27 million viewers.
For further perspective: The 2011 Women's World Cup final between these same two teams drew an audience of 13.5 million, meaning the viewership for this year's final nearly doubled.
The average audience for last night’s match outpaced every game of the NBA Finals, the 2014-15 broadcast season average of every show in primetime TV, including Sunday Night Football, and the primetime average of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
The Women's World Cup's impact on social media was also profound, with Twitter announcing that tweets involving #FIFAWWC, the tournament's official hashtag, were viewed an amazing 9 billion times, with the cup final unsurprisingly the subject of the most tweeting.
The match also set a new record for the Fox Sports GO streaming service, with 232,000 unique streamers, the largest authenticated streaming audience in FOX Sports GO history. Women’s World Cup matches now comprise Fox Sports GO’s top five most-viewed events ever.
The top market for USWNT vs. Japan was Kansas City (20.6), followed by St. Louis (20.5), San Diego (19.5), Denver (19.4), Austin (19.1), Seattle (18.3), Washington D.C. and West Palm Beach (18.2), San Francisco and Las Vegas (17.7). That rating in KC is the highest for any individual market in this tournament.