29 July 2020

NWSL Challenge Cup final is most watched match in league’s history

The National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup final at the weekend has become the most watched match in the league’s history.

The fixture, which saw Houston Dash claim their maiden trophy in a 2-0 win over Chicago Red Stars, saw 653,000 tune into CBS in the US to watch.

This was a 293 per cent increase on last year’s final between North Carolina Courage and Red Stars which drew in 166,000.

The final surpassed a new record set in the tournament’s opening game, when 572,000 watched Courage take on Portland Thorns FC.

The league was the first to return to action in the US.

News of the figures has led to many fans calling for more regular fixtures being shown on TV as CBS only broadcast the opening game and the final on their TV channel.

All other matches were streamed on CBS All Access which is a subscription channel.

International fans could stream all the matches for free on Twitch.

One fan wrote on Twitter: "Great! Now next time don’t put a majority of the games behind a paywall"

While another said: “This whole event should of been live on TV, not streamed with fee. Hopefully, this changes in the future. No reason when first professional sport back not to be live on TV!”

And another commented: "It would have been even MORE if you had put more games on the main network and/or the streaming was more accessible! 

"Grateful for the games I was able to watch and for the recognition these ladies are getting. Just the beginning!"

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