BBC pulls in over 10m as England open Euro 2020 campaign with win
An average audience of 10.2 million tuned in yesterday for England’s win over Croatia in soccer’s pan-continental European Championships on the BBC, the UK public-service broadcaster, including a record number on the network's streaming platform.
The viewership for England’s 1-0 win on home soil at Wembley Stadium in London peaked at 11.6 million, a 79.2 per cent audience share, for the opening game in Group D.
The broadcaster also claimed it set a new live viewing record on its iPlayer service with the game being streamed 3.9 million times.
The match, which England won with a goal from Raheem Sterling, was streamed a further 600,000 times on the BBC Sport website, meaning the game was streamed a combined 4.5 million times on BBC iPlayer and online.
England meet rivals Scotland in their second group match on Friday night.
England will be playing all of their group games at Wembley as one of 11 host nations from across Europe for Euro 2020, which was delayed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wembley Stadium will also be staging the semi-finals and final.
Elsewhere, Italy’s 3-0 victory over Turkey in the tournament’s opening game on Friday was watched by a combined average audience of 14.3 million in the country.
The game was shown simultaneously by public-service broadcaster Rai and pay-TV operator Sky Italia.
On the main Rai1 channel, the broadcaster attracted an average of 12.8 million viewers, with an audience share of 50.7 per cent, while a further 1.5 million, a 6.2 per cent share, tuned in on Sky.
Despite a combined share of 56.9 per cent in Italy, the figure for the national team’s first game was less than all of its games at Euro 2016, the last major tournament they were involved in having failed to qualify for the the 2018 World Cup.
Italy are also among the hosts for Euro 2020 and were playing at home at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
The country will face Switzerland in their second game on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, an average of 5.4 million saw the Netherlands’ 3-2 win over Ukraine yesterday evening on NOS, the Dutch public-service broadcaster.
In other developments, the BBC have been criticised for their coverage of Denmark’s match against Finland on Saturday in which Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch.
The BBC continued its broadcast despite Eriksen receiving CPR treatment, and has faced a backlash for not cutting away from the distressing scenes until the player was stretchered off.
The broadcaster apologised to viewers who were upset by the images but said "in-stadium coverage is controlled by Uefa as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible".
The DBU, the Danish federation, has said Eriksen remains hospitalised but is in a stable condition.
Following a delay caused by the incident, the Denmark and Finland teams agreed to resume the match, with the latter running out 1-0 winners.