PARIS – France is once again gripped by football fever – a year after the men's national team triumphed on the world stage, the women's team is cruising through the group stages and smashing TV audience records in their own World Cup.
Stadiums are selling out, and TV broadcasters are bumping up the price of advertising slots as millions tune in. Les Bleues' star players are fast becoming household names.
TF1, France's main broadcaster for the tournament, had expected the team's opening match to draw up to 5 million viewers. Instead, numbers peaked at 10.9 million, while almost 1 million followed the game on Canal+, a pay-TV unit of Vivendi .
TF1, owned by family-controlled conglomerate Bouygues, described the numbers as a French record for a women's soccer match.
But the records did not stop there – in France's second group game against Norway, domestic viewer numbers spiked to 11 million on TF1 – on par with the number of people who watched the men's opening matches in 2018.