Portugal’s overtime victory over host country France on Sunday in the final of the monthlong European Cup soccer championship tournament drew 4.54 million viewers on ESPN, down a flick from the network’s broadcast of the Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy. ESPN said the game, which ran from 3-5:30 PM ET and took two 15-minute extra sessions to decide, netted a 2.5 rating.
In all, ESPN Networks’ coverage of the final on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes drew an average of 5.9M viewers combined, up 2% over the 2012 game in which Spain successfully defended its Euro crown.
Euro 2016 has been criticized for its level of play as the field was expanded to 24 teams (from 16) for the first time. Portugal, in fact, advanced from the group stage despite finishing third with no wins — a spot in which they wouldn’t have qualified to the knockout stage in previous years.
Even Portugal’s global star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was injured in the final and left for good before the game was a half-hour old. The team, which earned its first-ever Euro title, eventually beat host and favored France in Paris on a 109th-minute goal from Eder, who likely would not have been in the game had Ronaldo been able to play.
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