The brilliant performance in the World Cup Final by the U.S. Women’s soccer team, which might just earn them their own ticker-tape parade in New York, was record-breaking in more ways than one. An average of 25.4 million viewers tuned in to ESPN to see the U.S. team capture its third World Cup title making it the most watched soccer telecast of all time. The last record was set just last year when 18.2 million watched the U.S.-Portugal contest on ESPN in the group-play round of the Men’s World Cup. When the 1.3 million watching on Telemundo are taken into account, Sunday’s match attracted 26.7 million viewers in the States — more than the NBA Finals on ABC, which peaked at 23.25 million viewers for its sixth and final game (and hasn’t had a bigger audience than that since 2010). While the massive surge in ratings can be attributed to several factors — a moment of nationalistic fervor and pride surrounding the US women’s team, the rising popularity of soccer in the US — it is most of all a sign of the growing interest in women’s sports in general, when this has been drastically underrepresented in the media.
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