USWNT scores highest group stage ratings ever in draw vs. Netherlands

The USWNT might not have posted a win against the Netherlands in its second match of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, but Fox Sports certainly did.

The Wednesday night draw between the U.S. and the Netherlands drew an average of 6.43 million viewers for Fox, the network announced Thursday, making it the most-watched English broadcast of a Women’s World Cup group stage match in U.S. history.

The match reportedly peaked at 8.45 million viewers.

The record comes one match after the USWNT’s World Cup opener against Vietnam drew an average of 5.26 million viewers, previously the second-most watched group stage match after a USA-Chile match in 2019.

The improvement in ratings is tied to a few reasons. Wednesday’s match was a rematch of the U.S.-Netherlands final in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, while the Vietnam match was mostly seen as a tune-up against the lowest-ranked team in Group E. The Vietnam match was also counter-programmed by Lionel Messi’s dramatic MLS debut with Inter Miami.

The close nature of the Netherlands match would have also kept viewers sticking around longer. It was a dramatic match in which the Dutch took an early lead, followed by U.S. captain Lindsey Horan heading in an equalizer after some jostling with her Lyon teammate Daniëlle van de Donk.

United States' Lindsey Horan (10) and Sophia Smith (11) celebrate after Horan scored their third goal during the second half of the Women's World Cup Group E soccer match between the United States and Vietnam at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, July 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Lindsey Horan came up big for the USWNT, but the team still ended a 13-game winning streak at the Women’s World Cup. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

That 6.43 million viewers is unlikely to be surpassed in the USWNT’s final group stage against Portugal, in which the U.S. will only need a draw to advance to the knockout stages. That match is scheduled to be played at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Leave a Comment