England’s UEFA Euro 2022 semi-final victory over Sweden yesterday (July 26) attracted a peak television audience of 9.3 million viewers for UK public broadcaster the BBC, making it the most-watched match of the tournament so far.
The BBC said there were an additional 2 million streams of the match across its streaming service BBC iPlayer, BBC sports website, and BBC app. Official figures do not include how many fans were watching in pubs or fan zones.
The figures make the match the most watched of the women’s tournament so far. The quarter-final match between England and Spain follows with a peak television audience of 7.6 million, with an additional 1.5 million streams.
The record UK television audience for a women’s soccer match was set during the 2019 World Cup when a peak audience of 11.7 million tuned in to watch the USA’s victory against England.
International women’s soccer is now becoming a consistent ratings winner for broadcasters, with interest in the sport growing in recent years.
By comparison, England’s women’s team reached the Euros final in 2009, there was a peak audience of 1.4 million for BBC. The broadcaster is now expecting 10 times that audience when the team plays at this year’s final at Wembley on Sunday (July 31).
It will be England’s third appearance in the competition’s final, where they will face either France or Germany. In 1984, they lost to Sweden on penalties and in 2009 they suffered a 6-2 loss to Germany.
Rights holders to the domestic English Women’s Super League, the BBC, and pay-television broadcaster Sky have previously said they hope to use the high interest in the tournament to increase viewership of their coverage of the league.
Yesterday European soccer’s governing body UEFA revealed the tournament had already attracted more viewers – both television and online – than any previous edition of the event.
The previous cumulative audience record of 164 million, which was set during the last edition of the event in the Netherlands in 2017, was surpassed during England’s quarter-final victory against Spain last week.
The governing body also said that during the group stage of the tournament, which ended earlier this month, over 152 million social media interactions were generated around the matches.
England's 1-0 win against Austria in the 2022 Euros' opening fixture, meanwhile, secured the largest attendance in tournament history, with over 68,000 turning up to Manchester's Old Trafford stadium to watch the hosts secure a winning start.
There were 28,624 fans at England’s semi-final game at Bramall Lane – a record for a European Women’s Championship semi-final.
Tickets for Sunday’s final at Wembley, which has a capacity of 90,000, have already sold out.