The FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) clash between defending champions the US and the Netherlands became the most-watched WWC group-stage match in US history after delivering a record audience for domestic rightsholder Fox, the national network.
Fox said its English-language coverage of the game, which started at 9PM ET and ended with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday (July 26), drew 6.43 million viewers to its channel, spiking to 8.45 million during the game’s final 15 minutes.
The audience numbers include streaming viewership of just under 197,000.
The audience figure surpassed the previous record of 5.34 million viewers for the USA's match against Chile in the 2019 WWC. The US’ first game against Vietnam earlier this week ranked third with 5.26 million viewers.
Additionally, the game's Spanish-language broadcast on Telemundo and Universo averaged around 1.7 million viewers for a total of 7.59 million viewers. However, this figure does not include Telemundo’s streaming coverage on Peacock.
The US team’s next game against Portugal is unlikely to break the new record as it is scheduled for a 3AM ET start on Tuesday (August 1) due to the large time difference between the US and hosts Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier this week, world governing body FIFA 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.
This year’s edition is the first to feature 32 teams – up from 24 in the 2019 WWC – with an extra 12 matches added to the schedule.
Last week, FIFA secured a raft of late broadcast deals in Asia to complete its final broadcast sales program for the tournament. It also confirmed it had sold out all of its sponsorship packages after announcing four last-minute partners.
Image: Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images