The European Broadcasting Union is touting Olympics viewing figures for public service broadcasters in some of its major territories, saying the numbers outstrip those of any previous Games. While the UK was indeed big, there was more of a shrug across the rest of Europe. And now that all is said and done, standing the figures up to the recent Euro Cup soccer tournament paints a pretty clear picture of Europeans’ sport of choice.
As Deadline has previously reported, the Olympic host country’s BBC had peak audiences for London 2012 that bested its 2008 coverage of the Beijing Games. But peak viewing on the BBC for a June 24 Euro Cup soccer meet-up between England and Italy was 23.2M compared to the highest Olympic peak of 20M during Usain Bolt’s 100-meter final win on Aug 5.
In France, 34M viewers tuned into at least an hour of Olympic action on channels operated by local public broadcaster France Télévisions. France 2 had a 27.5% share for Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony, its best in seven years. But back in June when France lost to Spain in the Euro Cup, leading net TF1 had an over 50% audience share. Germany’s ZDF averaged 3.59M viewers for its entire coverage of the Games with a 24.9% share. The Beijing share was close to that at 22.5%, but average viewers were much lower at 1.81M. During the Euro Cup, both ZDF and ARD regularly pulled in more than 27M viewers for individual matches with shares above 70%.
And, as Spain advanced to win Euro 2012 a few months ago, national ratings records were consistently broken culminating in an 83.4% share for terrestrial web Telecinco’s airing of the final match. Early on at the London Games, the Spanish football team was knocked out of contention leaving a peak of 5.68M Spaniards to watch RTVE for the country’s basketball final against the US. That repped a 47.2% share.