Though the dream of a spot in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final is officially over, the Matildas scored a ratings bonanza with their semi-final match-up against England on Wednesday night (Aug. 16), with more than 11 million viewers tuning — making it the most popular moment on TV this year, or any other.
Sam Kerr and Co. once again delivered eye-catching numbers across all platforms, in front of another capacity crowd of 75,784 at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
That’s easily the most-watched TV program since the audience measurement specialist started its work in 2001.
Some 957,000 viewers logged on with 7plus, also setting a new mark for the most streamed event ever in Australia.
— Football Australia (@FootballAUS) August 16, 2023
“Australia was captivated last night as the Matildas played their hearts out and did us all proud,” comments managing director Seven Melbourne and head of network sport, Lewis Martin, whose broadcaster describes the numbers as “extraordinary.”
The Matildas, he continues, “have re-written the history books and captured the hearts and minds of the nation with a performance that is sure to inspire generations of Australians for many years to come.”
In a snapshot of the five metro cities, more than 1.418 million fans in Sydney were glued to game, and it was a similar story in Melbourne (1.379 million) and Brisbane (767,000), which hosts the Matildas’ final match this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium, the playoff for third spot.
Supporters tuned in early (1.853 viewers for the pre-match hype) and stayed-on after the game (1.786 million post-match).
The figures, however, don’t capture the volume of viewers who watched on at venues around the country, including pubs, clubs and live sites.
Also, the game was a top 5 moment on Optus Sport, which has streamed the tournament on its subscription platforms.
According to data supplied to Variety Australia, the semi final ranks No. 4 among matches hosted on Optus Sport, respectively behind the UEFA Euro 2020 game between Italy and England; the Euro 2020 match between England and Denmark; and last week’s World Cup nailbiter which saw Australia beat France in penalties.
Nos 1 and 2 in that list were games exclusively handled by Optus.
“So much has been said about the Matildas inspiring our football nation,” comments Clive Dickens, Optus vice president television, content and product development, “and the fact they keep attracting huge audiences who just cannot get enough of their determination on and off the pitch.”
Prime minister Anthony Albanese was among the millions who watched on, and he led praise for the squad and its historic achievements.
“The Matildas are an absolute inspiration,” he tweeted. “You’ve shown incredible skill, ferocity and flair, and a camaraderie that defines what it means to play team sport.”
👏 @TheMatildas are an absolute inspiration.
You’ve shown incredible skill, ferocity and flair, and a camaraderie that defines what it means to play team sport. pic.twitter.com/khWWWoiV22
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) August 16, 2023
The national team must now reset and compete for an unprecedented spot on the podium.
The next and final opponent, Sweden, awaits in Saturday’s playoff for third place, which will beam out on Seven, 7plus and Optus from 5.30pm AEST.
Sunday’s final between England and Spain kicks off 7pm AEST.