England's WWC loss to US smashes British TV record to become most watched event of the year

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

England may have fallen short in taking out the reigning champion, but its fans still delivered a smashing success.

A peak audience of 11.7 million watched the live BBC coverage of England’s match against the United States on Tuesday, a 2-1 loss in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup. It’s now the most-watched British TV event of the year, according to the Daily Telegraph, with more then 50 percent of households watching TV on Tuesday night tuning in to the match.

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The match viewership beat out local hits “Line of Duty,” which had less than 10 million for its finale this year, and “Britain’s Got Talent,” which peaked at 9.7 million during its premiere.

The ratings also beat out the men’s Champions League final last month. Liverpool defeated Tottenham, 2-0, in front of an audience of 11.3 million that included figures from digital and TV, per the Independent. BT Sports made its online streaming option free on the mobile app, website and YouTube channel. Per the Independent, 6.5 million watched on TV and 4.8 million on digital.

It was the third TV record in two weeks for the Lionesses. A record 6.1 million watched a group stage victory over Scotland. It was later topped by a peak 7.6 million who watched the quarterfinal victory over Norway, per the Telegraph.

The previous women’s soccer record, per the site, was 4 million for England’s Euro 2017 semifinal against the Netherlands.

As women’s soccer gains steam around the world, so does Europe’s most heavily funded team. As recently as 30 years ago, girls and women weren’t welcome in the game. Now the Lionesses are inspiring millions of girls to play soccer and boys love watching the competition, too, with The Guardian columnist Sam Haddad writing of the crossing of a threshold.

The 2019 Women’s World Cup has shattered viewership numbers around the world with an expected 1 billion total viewers by the end of the tournament, FIFA said. Numbers don’t lie.

Millions tuned in to watch Ellen White and England take on the USWNT in the Women's World Cup semifinals. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Millions tuned in to watch Ellen White and England take on the USWNT in the Women's World Cup semifinals. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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