Commentary

Women's soccer's peak audience outdraws men's basketball

By Paul Kennedy

How popular is the U.S. women's national team's quest for a third straight gold medal? The audience for Saturday's 3-0 win over Colombia on NBC Sports Network peaked at 3.346 million, higher even than the peak audience for Sunday's men's basketball team game with a peak audience of 3.036 million.

The USA-Colombia averaged 2.478 million viewers. The average for the basketball team's first game had an average audience of 2.648 million average viewers.

MLS GETS BOOST. The weekend prime-time MLS matches on NBC Sports Network got a ratings boost: 392,000 viewers for Saturday's FC Dallas-Los Angeles match and 233,000 for Sunday's Philadelphia-New England game. The FC Dallas-Los Angeles viewership was more than the combined viewership for the Chelsea-AC Milan and Liverpool-Tottenham games the same day on ESPN2. NBC Sports Network was averaging 121,000 viewers for its first 17 broadcasts, up 78 percent compared to same period last year on Fox Soccer.

ALL-STAR NUMBERS. The MLS All-Stars' 3-2 win over Chelsea drew 530,000 viewers on ESPN2, down 32 percent and 26 percent from the previous two years when the MLS all-stars played popular Manchester United.

MLS 36 DEBUTS SUNDAY. NBC Sports Network's day-in-the-life series, MLS 36, will debut Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET and feature MLS scoring-leader Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes. The 30-minute episode takes viewers into Wondolowski’s world for 36 straight hours as he and his fellow MLS All-Stars prepared to take on current European champion Chelsea. The show will follow the three previous successful 36 series Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and NHL 36, which currently air on NBC Sports Network.
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1 comment about "Women's soccer's peak audience outdraws men's basketball".
  1. David Sirias, August 1, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.

    I still think Olympic Women's Soccer is redundant and diminishes the WWC. It should eventually be a u-23 tournament like the men, for many many reasons. That being said, I can see how the US Fed wants to keep the ladies in the spotlight as much as possible until another D1 woman's league emerges--most likely WMLS. But that is several years if not a decade away. We can all speculate about what such a D1 league should look like. But there should be no dispute that it is needed desperately. Current success is masking horrific long-term structural weaknesses in the women's game here.

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