USWNT earns second-highest group stage mark ever in opening match against Vietnam

The USWNT got off to a strong start against Vietnam at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, and so did their ratings.

Friday’s USA-Vietnam opener saw Fox Sports average 5.26 million viewers with a peak of 6.55 million, the channel said on Saturday. Those numbers would be a 99% increase from the USWNT’s first game in the 2019 tournament and the second-highest ratings for any game in the Women’s World Cup group stage.

If you add the million viewers of Spanish broadcasting on Telemundothe average number rises to 6.26 million.

USA was universally expected to win the game in a blowout, which is pretty much what happened except for a few sloppy moments. The team won 3-0 by dominating possession time, but could have scored more. Vietnam, ranked 32nd in the world and probably the weakest team the United States will face, have become physical enough in defense to create problems.

These numbers are quite impressive for several reasons, including the quality of the opponent. The timing of the game did him few favors, as it took place at 9 p.m. ET on a Friday night. This will be a recurring factor with viewership as the tournament takes place in the distant time zones of Australia and New Zealand.

United States' Sophia Smith, right, celebrates with United States'  Crystal Dunn after scoring her team's 2nd goal during the Women's World Cup Group E soccer match between the United States and Vietnam at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday, July 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Cornaga)

The USWNT had little drama against Vietnam. Next stop: the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Andrew Cornaga)

Even on a Friday night, however, the match saw heavy counter-programming in the form of Lionel Messi’s MLS debut with Inter Miami. This match between Miami and Cruz Azul started less than an hour before the USWNT, and the Barcelona legend entered the game shortly after the USWNT started play.

The Messi game was locked behind the double paywall of Apple TV+ and the MLS Season Pass, but it still caught the eye, especially when Messi hit a game-winning free kick to start his American career on a perfect note.

The USWNT next takes on the Netherlands on Wednesday, again at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. After that, it’s Portugal on August 1 at 3 a.m. ET. Don’t expect big numbers from that one.

Leave a Comment