WSL smashes TV viewing records on landmark weekend

  • Chelsea v Liverpool hit a peak of 1.1m viewers across BBC platforms
  • Same fixture also registered highest ever audience for a WSL game
  • Manchester derby broke viewing record for a WSL game on Sky Sports

A new record
A new record / Gaspafotos/MB Media/GettyImages

The WSL reached record breaking viewing figures over the weekend as Chelsea's clash with Liverpool passing the one million mark on BBC platforms and the Manchester derby setting a new record for a WSL fixture on Sky Sports.

In their 5-1 demolition of Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, the Blues set the stage ablaze with a dominant display that registered a peak audience of 1.1m across both BBC One and BBC iPlayer, as well as the highest ever average TV audience for any WSL fixture of 796,000.

On the pitch, Lauren James soared to new heights, scoring a hat-trick for Chelsea, with 12,802 also at Stamford Bridge to see it live. The starlet netted a first half opener in a showstopping performance before assisting Aggie Beever-Jones with her fourth in as many games. James then scored twice more to register her second career treble, before Sjoeke Nusken added the gloss.

Sophie Ingle also made some WSL history by breaking Kerys Harrop's all-time appearance record, marking her 184th game in the competition by assisting James' first goal.

Last season's opening day clash between the two sides had peaked with 482,000 viewers.

The following day, the Manchester derby saw City claim bragging rights over United and recorded the largest audience ever seen for a WSL game on Sky Sports - a peak of 589,000 and average of 485,000.

The enthralling clash drew 43,615 fans to Old Trafford - a club record for the Red Devils. It was also the first time the derby had been held at the Theatre of Dreams. But United boss Marc Skinner admitted his team didn't perform as City ran our 3-1 winners.

Katie Zelem converted from the penalty spot to get the hosts in motion but two goals in quick succession from Jill Roord and Lauren Hemp turned the tide. Bunny Shaw added another after United's mistakes at the back gifted her City's fortuitous third to kill the game.