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The Matildas' Match Against France Was Australia's Biggest TV Sports Program in a Decade

The nerve-shredding clash, epic penalties included, was also the country's biggest streaming event ever.
By Sarah Ward
August 14, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
August 14, 2023
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Don't let anyone ever tell you that audiences aren't fond of kick-ass women doing spectacular things. And, if someone ever dares to try, refer them to the two biggest phenomenons in Australia right now: Barbie and the Matildas. In cinemas, the former has been busting records both locally and worldwide. On TV, the national women's soccer team has been making history, too. The latter has also being doing the same on the field, as everyone knows — because we've all been watching the Sam Kerr-led team, helping their 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup matches kill it in the ratings.

When Australia played France on Saturday, August 12, Australia's eyeballs followed every move from the first whistle through to the 7–6 penalty shootout in the Matildas' favour. How many eyeballs? Every single one belonging to more than 7.2-million people according to the Seven Network's ratings data.

The Matildas' Women's World Cup games are available to watch via the Seven Network and 7plus, and also Optus Sport, so exact figures get a bit tricky — and also OzTAM, which captures broadcast audience numbers, doesn't factor in folks watching in pubs, clubs, sports venues, at AFL grounds before Aussie rules matches and at other out-of-home venues. Plus, at the time of writing, OzTAM hasn't yet covered the game's 30 minutes of extra time or penalty kicks, thanks to the nil-all draw when regulation time was up.

Still, Seven has made an educated estimation, starting with the fact that an average of 4.17-million people watched the match either via its free-to-air station or its streaming service. Thanks to the latter, the network also advises that the game was the country's biggest streaming event ever.

 

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To put the Matildas' TV feat in context, 2022's AFL and NRL grand finals didn't hit the 4.17-million figure — or come close. Last years' AFL numbers? 3.06-million viewers nationally.

Unsurprisingly, as the ABC reports, Australia's quarter-final defeat of France enjoyed the biggest TV audience of the year. The Guardian notes that it was likely the biggest audience since Cathy Freeman's iconic 400-metre race at the 2000 Olympics.

All up, Seven advises that its coverage of the Women's World Cup so far has reached 11.9-million broadcast viewers, then another 2.3-million folks via 7plus — all while the bulk of the tournament's games, especially those that don't feature the Matildas, are only on Optus Sports.

How many people will watch the Australia v England game at 8pm on Wednesday, August 16? We're a competitive nation — surely we want to not only beat the Lionesses, but smash the France match's ratings as well.

The Matildas' 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup games are available to watch via the Seven Network and 7plus, and also Optus Sport — with select other games also on Seven, and the entire tournament streaming via Optus Sport.

The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 runs from Thursday, July 20–Sunday, August 20 across Australia and New Zealand, with tickets available from the FIFA website.

Top image: Liondartois via Wikimedia Commons.

Published on August 14, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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