European soccer’s UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) has attracted an audience of more than 25 million so far this season, with the recent quarter-finals accounting for nearly half of that figure.
Every game in this season's revamped club competition from the group stage onwards is being broadcast live on streaming platform DAZN, together with YouTube, as part of a four-year deal signed last June.
UEFA revealed that there were more than 14 million total views of the live streams across the group stage, and just the eight quarter-final matches alone attracted close to 11.7 million views from over 210 countries and territories, taking the season's tally beyond 25 million.
DAZN shows games live and for free on YouTube as part of an effort to target the widest possible audience for the competition and raise its profile.
Through the tie-up with the Google-owned platform, for the first two seasons, all 61 matches from the group stage onwards will be available live and for free on DAZN’s YouTube channel, as well as on DAZN’s global service.
For the final two seasons, all 61 games will be on DAZN, while 19 will be on the YouTube channel.
The agreement was described as “one of the largest broadcast deals in women’s club football history” when it was concluded last summer.
The tie-up came after UEFA took the decision to adopt a new competition structure, including a group stage, and introduce a centralized commercial model for the 2021-22 to 2024-25 cycle.
As well as strong audience figures, the UWCL has secured huge attendances so far this season, highlighted by the world record crowd of 91,553 that watched Barcelona Femeni, the women’s team of Spanish giants Barcelona, beat Real Madrid in the quarter-final second leg at the Camp Nou last week (March 30).
The sell-out crowd surpassed the previous women’s soccer attendance record of 90,185 for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in California.
It was also the highest attendance of any men’s or women’s match in Europe this season.
Barcelona Femeni have also sold out tickets at the Camp Nou for the semi-final first-leg match against Wolfsburg on April 22 and could potentially surpass last week’s figure.
A total of 180,648 fans attended the eight UWCL quarter-final matches, which UEFA claims is a record figure for the competition and the women's game as a whole.
Overall, this season's new-look competition has already amassed a combined stadium audience of 375,939 – nearly 150,000 more than 2016-17, the previous record edition.
In addition, the UWCL generated record social media numbers across its platforms. Cross-platform reach during the quarter-finals exceeded 20 million (up 76% from last season), while the number of followers across all official platforms has now increased by 261% compared to the same stage of the competition last term.
Lyon face Paris-Saint Germain in an all-French affair in the other semi-final, with the first leg to be played on April 24.