Sunday’s Women’s World Cup match between the United States and Brazil hit a twelve-year high in viewership on ESPN.
The United States/Brazil Women’s World Cup quarterfinal earned a 2.3 U.S. rating and 3.890 million viewers on ESPN Sunday morning, the largest audience for any Women’s World Cup match since 1999. The previous twelve-year high was a comparably miniscule 1.87 million viewers for United States/Colombia on July 2.
The match ranks as the third-highest rated, third-most viewed Women’s World Cup match ever in the United States, behind only the 1999 USA/Brazil semifinal (2.9, 4.924M, ESPN), and the 1999 USA/China final (11.4, 17.975M, ABC).
For some perspective, the two United States World Cup matches on ESPN last year drew audiences of 5.200 million viewers (USA/Slovenia) and 6.161 million (USA/Algeria). The ESPN family of networks averaged 3.261 million viewers for coverage of last year’s World Cup. Those figures do not include the Univision broadcasts.
Sunday’s match ranked as the third-most viewed sports program of the week on cable, behind only the NASCAR Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 (4.890M) and the NASCAR on TNT postrace show (4.412M).
Compared to other high-profile sporting events, the match drew more viewers than three of the seven Stanley Cup Final telecasts on NBC and Versus, and three of last year’s ten NASCAR Chase For the Cup races on ESPN/ABC.
The telecast also outdrew other women’s sporting events, including last year’s most-viewed WNBA Finals game (SEA/ATL G3: 545K, ESPN2), the Women’s NCAA Tournament National Championship Game (TAMU/ND: 3.831M, ESPN), and last year’s primetime U.S. Open Women’s Final (Clijsters/Zvonareva: 2.609M, CBS).
Through Sunday’s action, the 2011 Women’s World Cup has averaged a 0.5 U.S. rating and 804,000 viewers on the ESPN family of networks, up 150% and 200%, respectively, from 2007 (0.2, 268K).