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Date TimeJuly 08, 2019
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U.S. Women’s World Cup Win Tops Men’s Final Ratings by 20%
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. women’s World Cup victory was also a ratings winner for its broadcasters.The American audience for the game was 20% higher than last year’s men’s final, Fox Sports said on Monday. For the entire tournament, Fox’s audience grew 1% over 2015, which had set the global record for TV viewership, and was up 19% over 2011.The U.S. women defeated the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday to win their fourth world title. Last year’s men’s World Cup final didn’t include the U.S. team, which failed to qualify for the tournament, lessening the interest from American TV audiences.The success of the U.S. women’s soccer team has become a gender-equality issue. On a per-game basis, men who play for the national team make more than the women do. That discrepancy has become fodder for a pay discrimination suit against U.S. Soccer, which oversees both squads. The big audience for Sunday’s match likely casts an even brighter spotlight on the pay disparity, since higher ratings translate into greater advertising sales.“Broadcasters, platforms and rights holders are waking up to the fact that women’s sports, football in particular, is a real audience driver and revenue maker right now,” said Jonathan Gibson, director of global sports sales at the online media company Ooyala. “Rights will increase, advertising revenue will get a boost, and there will be huge sponsorship opportunities.”This year’s tournament also captivated viewers outside the U.S. The semifinal between the U.S. and England was the most-watched live event on the BBC this year, the broadcaster said. And the BBC’s audience over the course of the tournament was more than double what it was four years ago, when the Women’s World Cup was played in Canada.In the Netherlands, meanwhile, the final match against the U.S. team was the largest TV audience in that country since the 2014 men’s World Cup semifinal, when the Netherlands lost to Argentina. Nearly 90% of Dutch TV viewers watched Sunday’s women’s match.Final viewership numbers are expected later on Monday.(Updates with BBC audience in sixth paragraph)\--With assistance from Janet Paskin.To contact the reporters on this story: Gerry Smith in New York at gsmith233@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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