BBC nets 7.4m peak for Man City's historic FA Cup final win
The BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, achieved a peak of 7.4 million for its live coverage of English soccer’s FA Cup final on Saturday.
An average audience of 5.2 million, a share of 40 per cent, tuned in for the contest between Manchester City and Watford on BBC One, which kicked off at 5pm (UK).
Manchester City won their sixth FA Cup trophy with a 6-0 thrashing of Watford to complete the first-ever domestic treble, having already won the Premier League and League Cup this season.
The BBC attracted a further 1.1 million viewers on the iPlayer, its streaming service.
However, the one-sided nature of the game ensured the audience was lower than for last year’s FA Cup final, when Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0, a game that averaged 6.7 million viewers and drew a peak of 8.7 million.
It was also lower than the BBC’s highest peak TV audience for the FA Cup this season, as the fifth round tie, also between Chelsea and Manchester United, in February achieved an audience of 8.1 million.
The BBC renewed its FA Cup rights deal to 2024-25 in March, and will show up to 18 FA Cup matches live each season in the new cycle, its biggest commitment to the competition.
It was also recently reported that the FA Cup is set to be shown exclusively on free-to-air television in the UK for the first time in over 30 years from 2021, with commercial network ITV set to join the BBC as a domestic rights-holder.
ITV is closing in on a four-year contract with England's Football Association under which it will become the dominant rights-holder, showing up to 30 games per season, according to the UK's Times newspaper.
BT Sport, the pay-TV operator, also showed this year's FA Cup final.