UPDATE, 4.45AM: ITV says England’s triumph hit a high of 27.6M viewers across ITV, streamer ITV Hub, and Scottish affiliate broadcaster STV. The broadcaster claims it’s the biggest peak audience ever for a football match in the UK.
PREVIOUS, 1.40AM: England’s historic march into the final of Euro 2020 was watched by an enormous peak audience of nearly 26 million in the UK on Wednesday night.
England beat Denmark 2-1 in a tense semi-final at Wembley Stadium, London, with an extra-time goal from talismanic striker Harry Kane proving to be the difference between the two sides.
The victory sparked wild scenes in the stadium, packed with more than 50,000 fans, and across the country, as England qualified for their first European final, and their first major championship final since winning the World Cup in 1966.
The peak of 25.8M viewers was comfortably the biggest television audience of the tournament to date in the UK. Shown on ITV, the commercial broadcaster’s full coverage was watched by 16.9M from 6.30PM to 11.20PM, according to BARB figures supplied by overnights.tv.
The ratings are among some of the highest in a decade in Britain, putting the game just shy of historic moments including the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics (27M peak) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s seismic coronavirus lockdown address (28M viewers) in March 2020.
Having said that, England’s triumph over Denmark could not match the audience for the despair Gareth Southgate’s men suffered three years ago, when they crashed out of the World Cup. A peak of 26.5M watched the semi-final defeat to Croatia.
The Euro 2020 final will be shown across the BBC and ITV on Sunday night, and it would be no surprise if it goes on to break some ratings records in the UK.