The Women’s Soccer Championship Euro 2022 is scoring with audiences, posting record ratings as the tournament heads to its final matchup between England and Germany on Sunday.
Wednesday’s semi-final game between Germany and France drew a jaw-dropping 12.19 million viewers in Germany alone, on public broadcaster ZDF, with 47.2 percent of viewers nationwide tuning in to watch Germany’s nail-biting 2-1 victory over France. Younger viewers were particularly keen: some 3.3 million fans aged 14-49 caught the match, a 50.7 percent share.
Host England’s Euro 2022 semi-final victory over Sweden on Tuesday was watched by a peak television audience of 9.3 million on the BBC, a high-water mark for the tournament so far. The BBC also reported 2 million streams of the 4-0 win for the Lionesses.
The figures are within shouting distance of those for the women’s soccer World Cup and further evidence that women’s soccer continues to grow in popularity. Fans have also been turning out in person for Euro 2022 matches. The tournament broke the record for most fans at a Women’s Euros by passing the previous mark of 240,055 during the group stage, and a 85,000 sellout crowd will watch Sunday’s England-German final at Wembley Stadium in London.
The success of the Euros should also pique interest both in next year’s Women’s World Cup — coronavirus delays mean the two tournaments will be played back-to-back instead of two years apart —and in the bidding to host the 2027 tournament. World soccer body FIFA is set to start the bidding process for the 2027 World Cup this month, and viewing figures for Euro 2022 are making the championship more appealing and valuable to potential hosts and sponsors alike. So far, there is only one confirmed bid for 2027, with Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands submitting a three-nation proposal to host. But the reigning world champions the United States are considering a bid, and soccer-mad nations Chile, Mexico, Italy and South Africa are also expressing interest.
The 2019 Women’s World Cup drew a combined 1.12 billion viewers across all platforms, according to FIFA, a record audience for the competition. The final between the U.S. and the Netherlands was the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup match ever, with an average live audience of 82.18 million and a total of 263.62 million unique viewers. The women’s final scored a 10.0/27 rating on Fox Sports, making it the second best-rated U.S. soccer telecast since the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, which the U.S. team also won and which brought in 25.4 million total viewers.
The 2023 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, could struggle to reach those peaks, however, with time-zone issues in the U.S. and Europe cutting into viewing figures, and the tournament schedule — the matches take place from July 20 to Aug. 20 — clashing with the start of most major men’s soccer leagues in Europe.