USWNT ratings Jul 22, 2023; Auckland, NZL; USA midfielder Lindsey Horan (10) celebrates with forward Megan Rapinoe (15) after scoring a goal in the second half of a group stage match in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Eden Park. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a late start time on a Friday night, the U.S. Women’s National Team corralled a massive audience for its 2023 Women’s World Cup opener. The USWNT took on Vietnam, and although it started at 9 p.m. Eastern, soccer fans flocked in droves to watch it still. FOX Sports boasted the ratings for the USWNT match, saying it drew 5,261,00 viewers. The match became the second-most watched Group Stage telecast on English television since 2019, when the USWNT played Chile, and 5,337,000 viewers tuned in, according to the release.

The ratings also dwarf the previous USWNT match in a comparable slot during the 2019 Women’s World Cup. FOX Sports PR said that it went up 99 percent from the last match in 2019 between the U.S. and Thailand.

On Telemundo, the USWNT match also garnered big ratings. The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman tweeted, “1 million watched @USWNT-Vietnam across Telemundo (incl. streaming), Peackco, and Universo–the most-watched WWC group stage match in Spanish-language history.”

This is a satisfying number considering the numerous circumstances working against them. 9 p.m. Eastern on a Friday is a tough spot to rally in. And it was a busy night between that match, WWE Friday Night Smackdown on FS1, and the MLS debut of the phenomenal Lionel Messi on Apple TV.

Still, viewers tuned in for the Women’s World Cup matchup. The USWNT‘s star power is extraordinary, so it’s unsurprising. To that point, it’s increasingly more challenging to be in the space if you deny that women’s sports are not only here to stay but rising in popularity across the country.

You shouldn’t be far behind on some things, and there’s enough evidence now to suggest that’s one of them.

[FOX Sports PRs, Rachel Bachman]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022