Last night England endured a glorious loss not seen in a major tournament since Euro ’96. While the drama that unfolded was unquestionably compelling, non-USA matches in the women’s game do not capture the same mass appeal for TV viewers in the States.
Heading into Tuesday’s USA vs. Germany semi-final, FiveThirtyEight gave the U.S. only a 43% chance of beating the world #1. The underdog role was an unusual storyline for the U.S. Team and America was clearly compelled to tune in for this historic match up. FOX drew 8.4 million viewers – peaking around 8:30 PM EST with 12.1 million – making the game the third most watched women’s soccer match in history.
Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S. and Japan is sure to eclipse this rating – but can it beat out the 2011 final vs. Japan and 1999 final vs. China. We will find out soon.