TV Viewers: U.S. men vs. U.S. women

In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said an average rating for a men's game is a multiple of the equivalent women's game, "not 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 percent higher."

Just how much higher are viewerships for men's games?

A look at comparable types of games on English-language television show that these differences:

+212% 2014 Men's World Cup group stage vs. 2015 Women's World Cup group stage
+87% 2014 men's send-off games vs. 2015 women's send-off games
+70% 2015 men's friendlies vs. women's friendlies

Even when you include the record 25,400,000 viewers who watched the 2015 USA-Japan final on Fox, the U.S. men outdrew the U.S. women by 74 percent for their World Cup games.

What is not included are Spanish-language viewing figures.

2015 U.S. Women's World Cup Group Stage English-Language Viewers:
5,043,000 USA-Nigeria (Fox)
4,500,000 USA-Sweden (Fox)
3,311,000 USA-Australia (Fox Sports 1)
AVERAGE: 4,285,000.

2014 U.S. Men's World Cup Group Stage English-Language Viewers:
18,220,000 USA-Portugal, ESPN
11,100,000 USA-Ghana, ESPN
10,800,000 USA-Germany, ESPN
AVERAGE: 13,374,000.

2015 U.S. Women's Send-Off English-Language Viewers:
998,000 USA-South Korea, ESPN
457,000 USA-Mexico, Fox Sports 1
319,000 USA-Ireland, Fox Sports 1
AVERAGE: 591,000.

2014 U.S. Men's Send-Off English-Language Viewers:
1,231,000 USA-Nigeria, ESPN
1,067,000 USA-Turkey, ESPN2
749,000 USA-Azerbaijan, ESPN2
AVERAGE: 1,106,000

2015 U.S. Women's Friendly English-Language Viewers:
AVG. MATCH (DATE), NETWORK
998,000 USA-South Korea (May 30), ESPN
709,000 USA-China (Dec. 16), Fox Sports 1
489,000 USA-China (Dec. 13), ESPN2
457,000 USA-Mexico (May 17), Fox Sports 1
342,000 USA-Trin. & Tob. (Dec. 10), ESPN2
331,000 USA-Brazil (Oct. 21), ESPN2
319,000 USA-Ireland (May 10), Fox Sports 1
315,000 USA-Costa Rica (Aug. 16), Fox Sports 1
294,000 France-USA (Feb. 8), ESPN2
274,000 USA-Costa Rica (Aug. 19), ESPN2
257,000 USA-New Zealand (April 4), Fox Sports 1
249,000 USA-Brazil (Oct. 25), Fox Sports 1
207,000 USA-Haiti (Sept. 17), Fox Sports 1
173,000 USA-Haiti (Sept. 20), ESPN2
163,000 USA-Switzerland (March 6), Fox Sports 1
154,000 USA-Norway (March 3), Fox Sports 1
138,000 USA-France (March 11), Fox Sports 1
121,000 England-USA (Feb. 13), Fox Sports 1
AVERAGE:
333,000.

2015 U.S. Men's Friendly English-Language Viewers:
AVG. MATCH (DATE), NETWORK
1,012,000 USA-Brazil (Sept. 8), ESPN
806,000 USA-Mexico (April 15), Fox Sports 1
680,000 Netherlands-USA (June 5), ESPN
668,000 Germany-USA (June 10), Fox Sports 1
674,000 USA-Panama (Feb. 8), ESPN
469,000 USA-Guatemala (July 3), Fox Sports 1
445,000 USA-Peru (Sept. 4), Fox Sports 1
400,000 Denmark-USA (March 25), ESPN2
261,000 Switzerland-USA (March 29), Fox Sports 1
254,000 Chile-USA (Jan. 28), Fox Sports 1
AVERAGE:
567,000.

2015 U.S. Women's World Cup English-Language Viewers:
25,400,000 USA-Japan (Fox)
8,400,000 USA-Germany (Fox)
5,700,000 USA-China (Fox)
5,043,000 USA-Nigeria (Fox)
4,700,000 USA-Colombia (Fox Sports 1)
4,500,000 USA-Sweden (Fox)
3,311,000 USA-Australia (Fox Sports 1)
AVERAGE: 8,151,000.

2014 U.S. Men's World Cup  English-Language Viewers:
18,220,000 USA-Portugal,  ESPN
16.500,000 USA-Belgium, ESPN
11,100,000 USA-Ghana, ESPN
10,800,000 USA-Germany, ESPN
AVERAGE: 14,156,000.

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8 comments about "TV Viewers: U.S. men vs. U.S. women".
  1. Carl Hudson, April 1, 2016 at 2:41 p.m.

    It appears that most TV viewers prefer fouling, shirt-pulling, simulation, tripping, pushing, spitting, elbowing,
    grabbing, diving, and bad haircuts.

    Me- I enjoy the women's games.

  2. Ginger Peeler, April 1, 2016 at 7:07 p.m.

    I watch all the USMNT and USWNT games when available on TV. And I wish more channels would cover our younger national teams, both here in the United States and abroad. Some of our English language networks don't cover our national teams when they are playing away. If I can watch them in Spanish, I do. But some are only available from cable television sports packages, which I don't subscribe to. So, I like them all. More, please.

  3. Andy Cap, April 3, 2016 at 12:49 p.m.

    The women still play for 90 min
    plus OT if needed. The training and travel times are not lessened for the women.The rules and requirements of the game are the same. The level of competition should not matter,they cannot play better teams if those teams do not exist. They do the same things
    and face the same requirements as the men.The only difference is the have won major competitions. They should be compensated for their work and what they have accomplished.

  4. Brian Qualters replied, April 12, 2016 at 7:36 p.m.

    I don't believe the question is over 'style' of play or who won what - the question most people are concerned with is in relation to pay, a subject brought up by the recent court case filed by the women;'s players.
    Let's be honest and reality based here - the numbers in this article alone show yu WHO GETS THE MOST eyeballs - and whether you like it or not - the MEN"S games commonly rout the women's games - usually by a multiple of at least 2 - just look at the overall averages. When pay is measured in the business world it is based on who brings the most to the table - and THE MEN are the one's who bring in the AD MONEY that winds up paying for these games so rightfully so the MEN get the bigger share of the proceeds. Don't like it? Tough. Want to 'fix' the 'inequality' issue? Fine - get twice as many people to sit down and watch the women's games and make it so the TV stations can charge more for the ratings. Problem solved. This is NOT a question of sexism - this is a question of capitalism! Sorry if you don't like it and think it's unfair blah blah blah but reality is reality.

  5. haendel lazo, April 3, 2016 at 6:04 p.m.

    I agree 100%, in any case we own the girls for beating the countries that embarrass the MNT thanks to JK. They actually have skills and a style of play.

  6. Justin Ouellette, June 7, 2016 at 2:29 a.m.

    Brian Qualters said it best, reality is reality. Briging up things like shirt pulling and grabbing(which the women do those things too.) Just doesn't make any sense. The women don't even have their league on television yet, wanna know why? Well it's because it has only been out for 4 years after many multiple league collapses. The men's have a league and bring year round revenue. The numbers are there.
    The USWNT actually said they need to get paid for playing top competition, but they are the top competition. You can't get paid more for beating teams you ALWAYS beat, end of story.

  7. Baba O'Reilly, June 9, 2016 at 10:35 p.m.

    Sports is entertainment. You don't get paid based on merit, achievement, loyalty, or character. You get paid by how much you bring in.

  8. Aaron Apruzzese, October 12, 2017 at 2:12 a.m.

    The flaw in your thinking is the that the only reason the men have this opportunity is because the women put soccer on the map in the United States in the 1990s. However, that has never been compensated.

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