Amid celebrations controversy, USWNT delivers record ratings at World Cup

Whatever you think about how many goals they score or how they celebrate, the U.S. women’s national team is drawing more eyes than ever at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The USWNT’s second group stage match against Chile on Sunday drew 5,408,000 viewers between television and streaming sources, Fox Sports announced on Monday. That viewership is reportedly a new record for a group stage match at the Women’s World Cup in the U.S., as measured by Nielsen Media Research.

The match was also the most-watched English-language soccer telecast since last year’s World Cup final.

For past comparison, Sunday’s match brought a 19 percent increase from the USWNT’s second group stage match at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, despite the time zone disadvantage of that World Cup being held in nearby Canada and this year’s being held in France. Compare the ratings to the USWNT’s second group stage match in 2011, when the World Cup was in Germany, and you get a massive 185 percent spike.

A big part of that growth likely lies in the ever-increasing popularity of streaming games, though days of headlines about the team’s dominance could also have raised a role in expanding the its profile.

The USWNT very publicly routed Thailand 13-0 in its World Cup opener, the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s history. Both the team’s eye-popping goal total and the jubilant celebrations after each goal drew some scolding from the “think of the children” crowd.

Sunday’s match ended up being the team’s response to the controversy, as each of the team’s three goals — hopefully that was sportsmanlike enough for everyone — was followed by muted golf claps and back pats.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Carli Lloyd of USA Women Celebrates with Tierna Davidson of USA Women, Christen Press of USA Women  during the  World Cup Women  match between USA  v Chile  at the Parc des Princes on June 16, 2019 in Paris France (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Carli Lloyd's two goals were the highlights of the USWNT's record-breaking match. (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

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