Australia’s quarter-final victory against France to fire the home team into soccer's FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup semi-final has become the largest domestic television event in the last decade, with an estimated average audience of 4.17 million.
Preliminary data by OzTAM, the country’s official source of television audience measurement, said Australia’s 7-6 penalty shootout win was watched by 3.69 million viewers on domestic rightsholder Seven Network’s linear channel, while a further 472,000 viewers were generated through the commercial broadcaster’s streaming service 7plus.
The figures make the game the most-watched television program in 2023 so far and the biggest streaming event ever in Australia. It also surpassed the audience of any Australian rules or National Rugby League grand final.
The game peaked at 4.43 million viewers, but the figures do not include out-of-home viewers at clubs, pubs, sporting venues, and multiple live site broadcasts set up for the game.
The figures also do not consider the fact that the game ran into overtime by half an hour.
The adjusted audience numbers will be released tomorrow (August 15), which means the viewership number could be even higher.
Telecoms group Optus holds the main rights to the tournament to show all 64 games, which it shows through its subscription streaming service Optus Sports. Seven has rights to show one game per day, including Australia’s fixtures.
Optus Sport does not reveal its viewing figures for matches shown.
The home team’s round of 16 matches against Denmark last week broke records to become the highest-viewed television event of 2023 with 3.6 million viewers. However, the record is extremely likely to be broken again when the hosts take on England in their semi-final on Wednesday (August 16).
Seven Network said their coverage of the tournament has already reached 11.9 million broadcast viewers plus another 2.3 million on their streaming app so far.
Lewis Martin, Seven Network’s managing director for Melbourne and network head of sport, said: “Australia partied yesterday as the Matildas did us proud.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has brought Australia together in a way we haven’t seen for years. We can’t wait for Wednesday.”
The figures come after an unprecedented move by the AFL to allow the match to be broadcast onto screens at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before the AFL fixture match between Carlton Blues and Melbourne Demons. An estimated 70,000 spectators attended the game.
The Sydney Cricket Ground also showed the game after the AFL match between Sydney Swans and Gold Coast.
Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images