As we approach today’s Women’s World Cup Final with the U.S. facing Japan once again, Fox gets ready to wrap up the month-long tournament with some interesting facts in hand.
With the ratings for the matches reaching record levels for both Fox and Fox Sports 1, the U.S. time zone-friendly Women’s World Cup has brought women into the viewership fold in droves.
Compared to 2011 when the tournament aired on ESPN and ESPN2, this year’s viewership for the games on Fox/Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports 2 is up in the 25-54 demographic by 40%. When you look at the men’s demographic it’s up 21% which is quite good, but when you bring in the women’s demographic in the same category, that number jumps up by an astonishing 91%! This shows that the Women’s World Cup has gone mainstream.
Fox says among that female demographic, Title IX which brought equality in sports on both on the high school and college level is a factor with women interested in watching other women compete.
And as soccer has reached older adults which is important for advertisers who want to reach affluent viewers, it still has its hold on younger adults which the ad buyers really covet. The 18-34 age group viewership is up 14%. And as the 25-54 demographic is watching the games, Fox notes that about 23% is watching with a child or a teenager which doubles the rate for the NFL.
Fox officials say that multi-generational viewing is a way for a sport to gain mainstream appeal and for soccer, it’s getting out of that niche sport category with the viewership levels increasing in both younger and older demos.
With tonight’s final airing in primetime in the East Coast at 7 p.m., numbers for USA-Japan could rival the record for the 1999 WWC final between USA and China which was broadcast on ABC on a Saturday afternoon across the country and garnered 18 million viewers.
Fox isn’t predicting where the final viewership will fall for tonight’s game, but network officials have to feel cautiously optimistic that the match could approach or even surpass those levels.
Of course, we’ll be monitoring the numbers and report them when they become available on Monday.