England’s UEFA Euro 2022 final victory over Germany yesterday (July 31) attracted a peak television audience of 17.4 million for the UK's BBC public broadcaster, making it the most-watched women’s soccer match on UK television.
The climax of European national team women's soccer’s top competition in London, which saw England beat Germany 2-1 in extra time, was watched by an average of 11 million throughout BBC’s coverage, including its pre-match and post-match shows.
There were a further 5.9 million streams of the game on the BBC’s streaming platform BBC iPlayer and through the BBC Sport website. The figures do not include people watching in public spaces or pubs.
A record crowd of 87,192 watched the game at Wembley Stadium, meanwhile.
BBC director general Tim Davie said: "We are incredibly proud to have championed women's football and are thrilled we were able to bring such a special sporting moment to the public.
"This was the most-watched women's football game on UK television of all time and the most-watched program in 2022 so far – and deservedly so. Everyone at the BBC is delighted at the win and being able to share that with the public."
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The BBC secured the exclusive UK rights to the 16-team tournament in July 2019.
The numbers represent the highest UK television audience for a women’s soccer match by some distance, breaking a record set during the 2019 World Cup when a peak audience of 11.7 million tuned in to watch the USA’s victory against England.
The BBC coverage of the semi-final match between England and Sweden followed with a peak television audience of 9.3 million viewers, with an additional 2 million streams, while the quarter-final match between England and Spain drew a peak television audience of 7.6 million, with an additional 1.5 million streams.
By comparison, when England’s women’s team reached the Euros final in 2009, there was a peak audience of 1.4 million for BBC.
Yesterday marked England’s third appearance in the competition’s final. In 1984, they lost to Sweden on penalties and in 2009 they suffered a 6-2 loss to Germany.
Last year’s men’s Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley, which was broadcast on both the BBC and ITV, peaked at 30.95 million viewers with an average of 29.85 million watching – the highest TV audience for the BBC since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
Meanwhile, German free-to-air rightsholders ARD and ZDF drew an average audience of 17.9 million for the final – a market share of 64.8%, according to German audience research firm AGF.
They snapped up joint rights to the tournament in June.
The figure is around 5.7 million more than Germany’s semi-final against France and is the highest ever measured by the AGF for a women’s soccer match.
The previous record came during the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup between Germany and Japan, which was watched by almost 17 million viewers. When the Germans last won the women’s European Championship in 2013, less than nine million watched the game.
Ahead of England’s semi-final against Sweden last week (July 26), 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.