NWSL Challenge Cup final on CBS breaks viewership record again

Sunday's NWSL Challenge Cup game between the Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars on CBS averaged 653,000 viewers, setting another record for the most-watched NWSL game on U.S. television.

The tournament opener between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns averaged 587,000 viewers. All other games in Utah aired on CBS All Access, a pay streaming service.

The previous high for an NWSL game was 190,000 viewers for the 2014 regular-season match between Portland and Houston.

Sunday's Houston-Chicago game, won by the Dash, attracted the second-highest viewership for a soccer game on English-language television over the weekend behind the 750,000 viewers for the Leicester City-Manchester United on the final day of the English Premier League. The five Sunday EPL matches on NBCUniversal networks drew a combined 1.7 million viewers.

MLS averaged 195,167 viewers for the first six games of MLS is Back's knockout stage, which started on Saturday. All the matches, though, were aired on cable networks ESPN2 and FS1, which draw significantly lower audiences for MLS games than those on ESPN or FOX. Five of the six matches also aired on Spanish-language television (ESPN Deportes, TUDN or UniMas).

The NWSL Challenge Cup final outdrew the WNBA opener on ABC (539,000 viewers).

The sports ratings winner was Major League Baseball, which drew viewerships of 1 million or more for five games from its first four days of return to play with a high of 4,005,000 for Sunday's Yankees-Washington Nationals game on ESPN.

NASCAR, the PGA and WWE all had events that also averaged more than 1 million viewers.

Soccer viewers on English-language network television (June-July 2020):
1.
EPL:
Everton vs. Liverpool (June 21, NBC) 997,000
2. EPL: Sheffield United vs. Chelsea (July 11, NBC) 945,000
3. EPL: Southampton vs. Manchester City (July 5, NBC)  876,000
4. EPL: Leicester City vs. Manchester United (July 26, NBC) 750,000
4. EPL: West Ham vs. Wolves  (June 20, NBC) 716,000
6. NWSL: Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars (July 26, CBS) 653,000
7. MLS: Atlanta United vs. NY Red Bulls (July 11, FOX) 587,000
8. NWSL: NC Courage vs. Portland Thorns (June 27, CBS) 572,000
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