The final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup may not draw the huge audience that the United States’ last championship did, but it will still probably score some solid ratings.
The final between the Japan and the United States is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT Sunday (July 17) from Frankfurt, Germany. ESPN is carrying the match and will start pregame coverage at 2 p.m. ET.
Ratings for this World Cup have taken a big jump over 2007, when the tournament was held in China and the huge time difference meant lots of wee-hours games on ESPN and ESPN2. Through the semifinals, the tournament has averaged 934,000 viewers per game, more than triple the 294,000 average from ’07.
The last two U.S. matches have averaged a little over 3.6 million viewers — 3.9 million for the team’s penalty shootout win over Brazil in the quarterfinals and 3.35 million for its 3-1 victory over France in the semis.
The dramatic U.S. win in the 1999 World Cup final drew nearly 18 million viewers, a record for a women’s soccer match in this country. Sunday’s final likely won’t be that big, but it should draw at least 5 million to 6 million people.