Euro 2012 is now one for the history books. The entire soccer tournament roundly scored a TV ratings bonanza for broadcasters in Europe. In the U.S., ESPN has been doing increasingly hefty numbers and is expected to report a strong turnout for the final when those figures come in tomorrow.
After netting 14.18M viewers during regulation play in Spain’s semifinal against Portugal last week, Spain’s Telecinco swept primetime Sunday with an average of nearly 15.5M watching the final — good for 83.4% of the audience share. In Italy, RAI’s broadcast of the semifinal match when it bested Germany last week was seen by about 20M viewers for a 68.4% share. On Sunday night, more than 22M Italians watched as their team was routed by Spain in the 4-0 shutout. The victory made La Roja the first team to win three major international titles in a row (after taking Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010).
In Germany, fans made the trouncing of Italy on Sunday the most-watched match of this Euro Cup that didn’t include the local team. An average of 20.3M gave ZDF 56.2% of the market. And, in another country where the home team had long since packed it in, an average 12.3M Britons tuned in to BBC One on Sunday night for the final. The match was also aired on ITV1, but the channel only averaged 2M viewers for the game. The rivaly between the BBC and ITV is notorious — especially this past season, when The Voice UK and Britain’s Got Talent went head-to-head. The BBC generally draws bigger ratings than ITV for sports events, but the space between them with this final is notable. According to The Guardian, the total audience for live match coverage of the final was 14.3M. But that was about 4M fewer than watched the World Cup when Spain beat The Netherlands in 2010. As would be expected, the Italy-England quarterfinal, which ended on a shootout, remains the highest-rated match of Euro 2012 in the UK with 20.2M having tuned into BBC One last week.