Some final thoughts on the business aspects of the 2011 version of the Womens’ World Cup. We’ll start with the television ratings where the numbers were outstanding for ESPN. According to multiple sources, the game earned an 8.6 overnight rating taken from the largest 56 television markets across the United States. The game earned the second largest daytime cable television rating of the season behind the 2011 Rose Bowl. More than 13 million Americans watched the game. Baltimore and San Diego were the top markets.
The match more than tripled the British Open that aired on the same day and was the second largest Womens’ soccer broadcast audience in US History behind the 1999 Final. By way of further comparison, the USA/Ghana match hovered near a 10.0 for a fairly similar start time (albeit on ABC).
To give a sense of how mainstream the American run became, the Imus in the Morning radio show led its sports broadcasts with the soccer game ahead of the Open Championship. Newspapers around the country put the game on the front page. The game featured on local newscasts nationwide and crept into the insular world of sports radio. The game exploded the Twitterverse, Tweet per second marks hit more than 7k per second (besting the Super Bowl by far) and the match became water cooler fodder in American offices even for those without interest in soccer or female athletics.
People keep asking what the impact will be on WPS attendance, ratings and level of interest. Although the league has lost teams and struggled in other ways over the last few months, there is some reason for optimism for the rest of this season. Soccer is now back on the sports radar and despite sebacks, WPS has made strides in the past year. A new team has taken the field in Buffalo and the Atlanta franchise is starting its second season in its soccer specific stadium. On this site, the biggest Google search term that brough eyeballs here, involved folks looking for WPS salaries.