On Saturday, the 2023 NWSL season came to an end as OL Reign and NJ/NY Gotham battled it out for the Championship title. Both teams were seeking to win the coveted prize for the first time, and after an exciting 90 minutes, Gotham prevailed thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
Yet, despite the hype and excitement surrounding this past weekend's final, the viewership numbers in the USA did not exactly meet expectations per se.
Indeed, stats show that the 2023 NWSL Championship final's viewership numbers were over 10% lower than the 2022 edition, which starred Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current. An estimated 817,000 people tuned into watch the OL Reign vs NJ/NY Gotham match on November 11th on CBS, versus the nearly 1 million (915,000) who opted to watch the Thorns vs Current match in 2022.
Part of this drop in viewership could be due to the fact that the NWSL final took place in the midst of the college football season - albeit the Reign vs Gotham game did bring in more viewers than the Mississippi State and Texas A&M game, which was shown on ESPN2 and pulled in a bit over 400,000 viewers (409,000).
Interestingly, the same report indicates that live-streaming numbers on Paramount+ actually increased in the 2023 NWSL Championship final versus the 2022 edition. Saturday's match also marked the second consecutive time a NWSL Championship final not only was shown on primetime TV, but also reached at least 800,000 viewers.
All in all, it will likely be encouraging news for the NWSL, who recently secured a four year deal with CBS, ESPN, Scripps Sports, and Amazon worth an estimated $60 million per annum. Prior to this, the NWSL had a deal with CBS worth just $1.5 million per year - so this new deal is a clear sign that many broadcasters are eager to take advantage of the rapid growth of women's football.