Female Soccer Champs Prove Their Ratings Worth Ahead Of World Cup

3:55 AM PST 06/17/2011 by Scott Roxborough

German test match with Norway draws 5.8 million viewers in Germany.

COLOGNE, Germany -  Women's soccer proved its drawing power Thursday  night with a test match between defending champions Germany and Norway that topped the local ratings.

Some 5.77 million German viewers, a 19.5% share, tuned in to public channel ZDF to watch their team wallop the Norwegian squad 3-0. The rating was more than double the top U.S. series airing that night, an episode of Bones on commercial net RTL, which pulled 2.2 million viewers for a 7.3% share.

The figures are still a fraction of those for top men's matches but are being taken as a positive sign ahead of the 2011 Women's Soccer World Cup, which kicks off in Germany June 26. The German team is looking to win their third World Cup in a row and national broadcasters are hoping for a ratings bonanza similar to that seen during the Men's World Cup in Germany in 2006.

The top-rated women's soccer match of all time was the 1999 World Cup final between the U.S. and China, which the U.S. won in penalties and which, according to ABC estimates, was seen by some 40 million viewers in America alone.

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