FIFA announced the results of its commissioned study of the reach of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, with new records set at a “total audience reach” of 1.12 billion.
That counts television, digital and out-of-home viewing; the television viewing was the key at 993.5 million “unique individuals for at least 1 minute” according to the study. That’s a monumental 30% increase over the 764.0 million who watched the 2015 Women’s World Cup on television.
However, that’s for anyone who turned on the set and watched for a minute. If you get to viewers who watched 20 or more minutes, the number is still good – 540.7 million viewers – but about 46% less. But that’s up 64.7% over 2015.
That’s good progress for women’s football, but the big audience was in Europe, which dominated the tournament, outside of the winning U.S. team. Some 38.5% of eligible viewers in Europe saw some part of the tournament; only football-mad South America surpassed that, with 44.3%.
How does this compare to the men’s World Cup? It’s not close.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia had a total viewing audience of 3.57 billion, or 3.2 times the Women’s World Cup audience, and had an average live match viewership of 190.5 million. That’s amazing. The Women’s World Cup average match audience was 17.27 million, or about 9% of the men’s World Cup.