An average of 2.42 million domestic viewers tuned in to watch Australia’s crucial Women’s World Cup (WWC) victory against Canada, becoming the most-viewed match of the tournament so far for commercial broadcaster Seven Network.
The must-win 4-0 victory saw Australia progress to the round of 16, with almost three times as many viewers watching the match over the final day’s play in the fifth Ashes cricket test, which is traditionally one of the bigger events for sports fans in the country.
Coverage of The Ashes’ day five lunch session by rival commercial broadcaster Nine Network was watched by 754,000.
Seven Network’s coverage saw 2.16 million watch the match via the broadcaster’s linear channel, while 260,000 viewers tuned into its 7Plus streaming service – a record for an individual event on 7Plus.
The match also marks the first time a women’s sports event has averaged more than 2 million viewers on domestic television, becoming Seven’s most-watch program so far in 2023. It gained almost 500,000 more viewers than Australia’s opening game of the tournament against Ireland on July 20, which saw 1.97 million tune in.
Domestic rights to the WWC were secured by Australian telecoms group Optus, which is showing all 64 games through its subscription streaming service. One game per day, including Australia’s fixtures, is being aired by Seven Network under the country’s anti-siphoning laws.
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The match also saw 27,706 fans attend Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, a figure just shy of a sellout.
Channel Seven said it is expecting even larger audience numbers now Australia has progressed to the knockout stages with the national team set to face the second-placed team in Group D in Sydney next Monday, with England, Denmark, and China all possible opponents. Co-hosts New Zealand crashed out of the competition early after a 0-0 draw against Switzerland.
The WWC online sales are already double the total men’s World Cup sales during Qatar 2022. Women’s jerseys have outsold men’s jerseys, with Sam Kerr (Australia) attire making up 50% of all customized requests.
Last week, the WWC clash between defending champions the US and the Netherlands became the most-watched group-stage match in US history after delivering a record 6.43 million viewers for rightsholder Fox, the US national network.
World governing body FIFA also announced a new record for ticket sales for the WWC after breaking the 1.5 million target set in France four years ago to become the most attended edition in the tournament’s history.
The majority of the ticket sales have been made in Australia, where over 1.1 million tickets have been bought, boosted by the popularity of the Matildas national team and women’s soccer more broadly.
Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images