Two more numbers have emerged indicating that the FIFA Women’s World Cup is succeeding as a breakthrough event for the normalisation of Women’s sport at the highest level.
The BBC has released viewing figures for Sunday evening;s game between England and Scotland. They show that a peak audience of 6.1 million tuned into England’s 2-1 win.
That represents 37.8 per cent of the viewing public at the time, a number which rose to 46 per cent of those watching in Scotland.
The figure was 50 per cent higher than the previous record for a Women’s international when 4 million tuned into England’s semi final at the European Championships in 2017.
The value of free to air TV in terms of audience size was also demonstrated by the fact that the England Men’s team who played Switzerland in the Nations League third place play off earlier on Sunday attracted a peak audience of 1.23 million on Sky Sports, representing 15 per cent of the audience at that time.
Another indicator closer to home was a comparison of ‘in play’ betting turnover between Ireland’s game against Denmark on Friday night, televised live on RTÉ here and on Sky Sports, and the Opening game of the Women’s World Cup between France and Korea, shown on TG4 here and on BBC in the UK.
At half time in both games the amount of money which had been matched on Betfair, part of Paddy Power Betfair, was €1.01 million for the Republic of Ireland game and €901,000 for the World Cup. The thought that the Women’s game would be at 90 per cent the level of the Men’s even a year ago would have been almost ridiculous.
The tournament continues today with European Champions the Netherlands in action on TG4 against New Zealand at 2 pm. Dutch striker Vivianne Miadema was top scorer in the Women’s Premier League with Arsenal, playing in front of our own Louise Quinn in the 2018/19 title winning season. She has scored 58 goals for the Netherlands in 75 appearances and is still only 22 years old.
The reigning Champions the USA get their campaign under way against Thailand in the evening kick off at 8 PM. Striker Alex Morgan scored her 100th international goal in April and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most influential People of the Year.
They have never lost a game in which she has scored. Coverage is on RTÉ2 this evening.