The Women’s World Cup final has become the most-watched football game ever in the United States. Sunday’s match, in which the US beat Japan 5-2, was seen by a record 25.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings data. It shatters the previous record, set during the 2014 Brazil World Cup, when 18.2 million tuned in to see the USA play Portugal. The audience peaked at 30.9 million between 01:30 and 01:45 BST.
Viewers saw Carli Lloyd score an incredible 13-minute hat-trick, as the United States trounced Japan to win their third Women’s World Cup title, following victories in 1991 and 1999. The latter was seen by 18 million viewers, the previous highest audience for a women’s match. Sunday’s game, which was held in Vancouver, beat big-brand shows like Big Brother on CBS and Celebrity Family Feud on ABC; while broadcaster Fox Sports saw 14.6 million people stick around for its post-match analysis.
In the UK, conversely, the culmination of the tournament saw a steep drop in audience figures. Just 500,000 viewers – or 13% of the total television audience – stayed up to watch the final. Four days earlier, England’s quarter-final match was seen by an average audience of 1.7 million, with a 32% share of the audience, BBC reports.