UPDATE, 12PM BST, AUGUST 1: A massive 17.9M people in Germany tuned in to watch their team narrowly lose the final of Women’s European Championship final to England, according to AGF viewing figures. This was nearly twice the number that saw Germany crush England 6-2 in the final of the 2009 tournament and underlines the growing popularity of the sport through Europe.
PREVIOUSLY: England’s near-60 year wait for a major football trophy ended last night with a record 17.5M peak audience tuning in to the BBC coverage.
The Lionesses’ 2-1 victory in the European Championships final, which included a dramatic winner in Extra Time, obliterated the previous best of 9.3M — achieved just a few day prior for England’s 4-0 semi-final win against Sweden.
The peak audience was hit at the close, as the Lionesses lifted the trophy, with almost 80% of all UK people watching TV at the time tuning in.
Across the broadcast, which ran from 4.50 PM BST to 9.30PM BST (08.50 AM PT to 01.30 PT), the game was watched by an average 11M viewers, another record high for women’s football, according to Barb data from overnights.tv. It was the second most watched show in terms of average audience this year, slightly behind the coverage of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
In reality, many more would have been watching in pubs as the data doesn’t capture co-viewing and sport ratings are therefore often underestimated.
German media reports said the figure was double that of the nation’s 2009 victory against England.
Last summer’s England men’s European Championships final, which the Lions lost to Italy, was watched by a peak audience of more than 30M, although that game was on both the BBC and ITV.
Taking place in the UK, the entire women’s tournament has been watched by record audiences both in the stands and on TV, as women’s football fever has gripped the nation. Last night’s crowd in Wembley Stadium was sold out, nearing 90,000, another record for a women’s football game.
The BBC is this morning showing coverage of a victory parade taking place at London’s Trafalgar Square.
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