UPDATED with additional ratings: Italy’s penalty-kick victory over England in the UEFA Euro 2020 final Sunday was the most-viewed Euro match in U.S. history with 6.49 million viewers tuning in to the ESPN broadcast. The total marked the most watched soccer game on U.S. TV since July 2019, when the U.S. won the Women’s World Cup and drew 14.3 million viewers.
Overall, the title game of the well-watched European championships, delayed a year because of the pandemic, was up 43% from the Euro 2016 final. All 51 English-language broadcasts of the monthlong tournament across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averages 1.36 million viewers, up 31% over 2016, despite the games airing mostly in the morning and afternoon because of the time difference.
Sunday’s final live from London’s Wembley Stadium peaked in viewership during the PK shootout, which came after Italy and England tied 1-1 after regulation and two 15-minute overtimes. Viewership reached 8.20 million for the penalties; the host team missed three to seal Italy’s second title in the quadrennial tournament that many consider superior to the men’s World Cup in quality.
Univision, which had Spanish-language U.S. rights to Euro 2020, said the Italy-England final drew 2.9M total viewers, also tops for a Euro match on Spanish-language U.S. TV. The network’s 11 televised matches averaged 1.2 million total viewers; it also aired games via TUDN and streamer Prende TV.
In the UK, Italy’s triumph over the home side was watched by a peak audience of 31 million across BBC One (25M) and ITV (6M). Even without online viewing data, the final beat top broadcasts including the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (27M peak) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown address (28M viewers) in March 2020.
In the U.S., English-speaking coverage grew solidly from stage to stage for the June 11-July 11 span of the tournament played across 12 cities, with group play averaging 870,000 viewers (up 23% over 2016), the round of 16 averaging 1.82M viewers (+38%), the quarterfinals 2.02M viewers (+16%) and the semis scoring 2.56M viewers (+37%).
Univision and Fox Sports at the same time also aired Copa América, the equivalent championship tournament for South America. Argentina and its captain Lionel Messi beat Brazil 1-0 in the final Saturday, drawing 1.84M viewers to the primetime showdown on FS1 and 3.5M total viewers on Univision.
In total, Copa América on Univision’s networks delivered a combined average of 1.1 million total viewers across 28 matches.
It’s a good time to be a soccer fan in the U.S., with Fox Sports and Univision already segueing to the CONCACAF Gold Cup that serves as the regional championship for North American, Central America and Caribbean nations including the U.S. and rival Mexico. That tournament is now in the group stage in nine U.S. cities, with the final set for August 1 in Paradise, NV.
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