Roughly 13.5 million people in the U.S. tuned in to watch Japan’s shoot-out victory over USA in the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, July 17, the end of a tumultuous and exciting tournament that left USA fans on the edge of their seats. The final game drew about 9.6 million more U.S. viewers than the quarterfinal game between U.S. and Brazil on Sunday, July 10, a 246 percent increase.
Excitement about the game was also shared online where 1.1 percent of all buzz was about the World Cup and its players, making it an event of historical significance on Twitter and around the blogosphere. Twitter represented a majority of World Cup buzz, and tweets on game day outnumbered those the entire week prior. During the tournament, Hope Solo generated the most buzz of the USA players on blogs and Twitter while Abby Wambach had the most news coverage in the run up to the big game, but Alex Morgan’s star performance in the finals helped her become the most buzzed about player on Twitter. Overall, Alex Morgan was the most buzzed about US player during the game with 18.1 percent of all World Cup buzz on July 17, followed by Hope Solo (8.7%) and Abby Wambach (2.8%).
“This year’s World Cup brought stellar athletes like Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and team youngster Alex Morgan onto the global stage,” said Stephen Master, VP Nielsen Sports. “Their standout performances and perseverance throughout the tournament is certain to raise the profile of women’s soccer as they resonate with fans and potential sponsors.”
While women accounted for a larger share of the World Cup’s audience as the tournament progressed, the makeup of the audience for the Women’s World Cup was in line with sporting events featuring male athletes, such as the Stanley Cup or NBA Finals. For almost all recent major sporting events, male viewers have outnumbered female viewers two to one, representing about two thirds of the total audience. The one outlier is the Super Bowl, which attracts a more evenly distributed male and female audience.
|Viewership of Recent Sports Broadcasts*|
|Game||Total Viewers AA (000)||% of Female Viewers|
|Final (7/17/11) – USA and Japan||13,458||38.90%|
|Semifinal (7/13/11) – USA and France||3,354||33.10%|
|Quarterfinal (7/10/11) – USA and Brazil||3,890||31%|
|Super Bowl XLVI||111,041||45.90%|
|NHL Stanley Cup 2011||3,905||37%|
|Source: The Nielsen Company|
*All data based on live+same day data