UK free-to-air (FTA) commercial network ITV has announced that its broadcast of English men's club soccer’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Coventry notched the channel’s second-highest viewership of the year.

An average of 4.4 million viewers watched the fixture, which took place at Wembley Stadium in London on April 21 (last Sunday) and saw spirited underdogs Coventry fight back from 3-0 down to take the game to penalties before eventually being undone by their heavily-favored opponents.

The game peaked at 7.1 million viewers and held a 41% viewership share in the country, with the potential for a major upset – Coventry were 3-0 down with only 20 minutes to go, before mounting an incredible comeback – as well as its presence on FTA when the majority of UK club soccer is on pay-TV, drawing eyes beyond the two clubs’ fanbases.

ITV’s only greater overnight viewership figure in 2024 was the FA Cup quarter-final fixture through which United progressed to this game. The Manchester team's dramatic 4-3 victory against Liverpool, which also went to extra time, peaked at 8.6 million viewers, the highest figure for an FA Cup quarter-final since 2018.

In terms of FA Cup viewing figures, meanwhile, the United-Coventry fixture was also behind coverage of the third-round clash between Liverpool and Arsenal on January 7, which notched 7.6 million viewers on the BBC public-service broadcaster.

Although ITV has notched high viewership in the 2023-24 edition of the FA Cup, the coming 2024-25 season is likely to be the last time for the foreseeable future that it will hold the rights to air the competition.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

From the 2025-26 campaign until the end of 2028-29, domestic rights to the FA Cup will be held by pay-TV heavyweight TNT Sports, which will show every game live from the competition’s third round outside the 3pm domestic media blackout across the UK until the end of the 2028-29 season via its linear channels and its owner’s (Warner Bros. Discovery) streaming platform Discovery+.

Games from the competition will still be broadcast on free-to-air TV in the UK, but likely only on the BBC, which reportedly agreed a sub-license deal from TNT for the FA Cup for the duration of its its tenure as rightsholder.

The 2023-24 men's FA Cup final, meanwhile, will see Manchester United and cross-town rivals Manchester City face off at Wembley on May 25.