RTE, the Irish public-service broadcaster, broke records with its live coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) soccer tournament, it has been revealed.
Ireland's group-stage match against Canada became the most-watched women’s sports event in Irish TV history, bringing in an average of 551,000 viewers for the free-to-air network.
The clash between Ireland and Australia (co-hosts, alongside New Zealand), meanwhile, was the biggest live event of the year on the RTE Player streaming service, with 368,000 live streams. That marked Ireland’s first-ever game at a WWC.
The network also secured impressive figures for the final on Sunday (August 20) between England and eventual winners Spain, with an average of 333,000 people watching that match on RTE2, equating to a 48.3% viewing share.
RTE secured Irish media rights to the WWC through a tie-up in October last year. It also covered the 2015 and 2019 editions.
In total, coverage of the 32-team tournament on RTE reached 2.4 million people, the network claimed yesterday (August 21), or 53% of the population – this figure takes into account those watching either live match coverage or highlights.
Excluding Ireland fixtures – the team did not make it past the group stage and only secured one point – the average viewing share on RTE’s linear channels was 20.7%, which was more than double the equivalent average share for the previous WWC, in 2019.
Total streams across the tournament, meanwhile, exceeded 1.3 million on RTE Player (including live coverage and highlights) with average streams per game (excluding Ireland fixtures) more than double the number for the 2019 event in France.
There were also 10 million page views of WWC content on the RTE website and mobile app.
Declan McBennett, head of sport at RTE Group, said: "The audience engagement figures across all platforms on RTÉ Sport show that women’s sport at the international level continues to grow, excel, and inspire. This growth must be matched now at the national level to provide the legacy the tournament deserves and the platform for further participation growth.”
The network also held rights to the men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar during November and December 2022 (at which Ireland were not present).
Yesterday, the respective UK and Spanish broadcasters covering the final both unveiled new records set during their coverage of that game, which ended with Spain winning their first major women’s national team tournament.