ESPN’s live coverage of the Euro 2012 quarter-final match between England against Italy was seen by an average viewing audience of 2.968 million, beating ESPN’s previous record audiences during Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 tournaments. The only previous European Championship match to beat the audience size for England-Italy was the Euro 2008 final, but that was shown on ABC, not ESPN, and had a viewing audience of 3.760 million.
ESPN’s live broadcast of England-Italy delivered a 2.4 overnight rating on Sunday, which was 50% greater than the comparable Euro 2008 quarter-final shown on ESPN between Italy and Spain.
The four UEFA EURO 2012 quarterfinal matches (June 21–24) delivered an average of 1.463 million television households and 1.918 million viewers – up 31 percent in both households (1.116 million) and viewers (1.459 million) compared to the quarterfinal round in 2008.
Through 28 matches (group stage and quarterfinals) of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012, ESPN’s live English-language presentation is averaging 889,000 households and 1,144,000 viewers — up 61 percent and 63 percent, respectively, versus the same 28 matches in 2008 (552,000 households and 703,000 viewers).
The top 10 metered markets through the group stage include: New York (1.9), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1.8), Providence (1.5), Los Angeles (1.3), Washington, DC (1.3), San Francisco (1.2), Richmond, Va. (1.2), Atlanta (1.2), Austin, Texas (1.2), and San Diego (1.1).
Last Sunday’s England vs. Italy on ESPN Deportes was viewed by an average of 424,000 Hispanic household, based on an 8.1 Hispanic household coverage rating, making it the most-watched UEFA European Football Championship match on the 24-hour Spanish-language sports network. The telecast beat the network’s previous high – UEFA EURO 2008 final between Germany and Spain with 357,000 Hispanic household impressions.
On ESPN Deportes, the quarterfinals averaged a 5.5 Hispanic household coverage rating with 287,000 Hispanic houshold impressions – up 57 percent and 133 percent from 2008 respectively. (In 2008, ESPN Deportes televised one of the four quarterfinal matches on delay.)
Through the 24 live matches in 2012, ESPN Deportes has delivered an average 3.5 Hispanic household coverage rating with 184,000 Hispanic HH impressions – up 46 percent and 117 percent respectively. UEFA EURO 2012 news and information programming has also delivered strong ratings: Fuera de Juego Euro Edition has aired 42 live telecasts, averaging a 1.3 Hispanic household coverage rating with 68,000 Hispanic household impressions.
Through the quarterfinals (June 8-24) across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox, ESPN3 and WatchESPN has logged an average minute audience of 83,607 per match and a total of 344.7 million live minutes to both English and Spanish language feeds. On computers alone, there were a total of 2.1 million unique viewers. Additionally, fans consumed 300.2 million live minutes on computers, up 688 percent compared to EURO 2008.
The England vs. Italy quarterfinal took the top spot as the new most watched match of the tournament thus far on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, logging 422,000 unique viewers, 27.8 million live minutes and an average minute audience of 147,745.
How does this compare to the Premier League audience numbers on US television? The largest viewing audience for a Premier League match on US TV was the tape-delayed game between Chelsea and Liverpool in November, 2011 which delivered an audience of 1.626 million on the free-to-air FOX network.
While the loss against Italy wasn’t what England fans wanted, the live broadcast of the match certainly delivered the results for ESPN.