England vs Germany in the knockout stages of a major international tournament, with penalties looking.
It’s not uncommon, is it? Thankfully, Chloe Kelly poked home the winner for the Lionesses in the final of the European Championships to stave off the dreaded spot kicks against the ice cool Germans.
It was a moment of unbridled delight for Sarina Wiegman’s players, and for the huge TV audience watching on rapt from their armchairs and sofas.
A staggering 17.4 million tuned in the BBC’s broadcast, confirming its status as the most watched women’s football game in history in the UK.
That huge number also confirms that the final is the most watched TV programme of 2022 so far, beating the ‘Platinum Party at the Palace’ celebration held for the Queen’s jubilee, which had 13 million viewers.
As well as the 17 million that tuned in via their TV, there was an additional 5.9 million streams via the BBC’s iPlayer platform and the BBC Sport website – together, that near 23 million audience puts England vs Germany just shy of joining the top-ten most watched sporting events in the UK ever.
And it demolished the previous best mark set by a women’s football game on TV in the UK – some 11.7 million tuning in to the Lionesses’ heart-breaking World Cup semi-final loss to the USA back in 2019.
As if those figures alone weren’t impressive enough, a sell-out 87,192 attended the game in person at Wembley Stadium – smashing the previous record attendance at a women’s European Championship game by nearly 20,000 people.
How Many People Watch Football On TV?
In the end, England’s run to the European title became more than just another football game on TV – it became appointment viewing for people that perhaps don’t ordinarily engage with the sport, but who wanted to support the Lionesses in their moment of glory.
For the most part, football viewing figures on TV are enjoying something of a boom, with Sky Sports revealing that their record for the highest number broadcast to was shattered in June 2020 by the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton.
In that same season, terrestrial TV stations were allowed to broadcast live Premier League games as part of the pandemic response – the BBC pulled in 5.7 million for their showing of Southampton vs Manchester City, which is the record viewing figure for a game other than a cup final on UK television.
The picture is also impressive as far as all women’s sport on TV is concerned – Sky reporting that more than 15 million people watched sporting action in the first three months of 2022….almost 300% higher than the same timeframe in the previous year.
Of course, all these numbers pale in comparison to the most watched sporting event in UK TV history – although the actual figure is unconfirmed, it’s believed that a whopping 32.3 million people watched England vs Germany in the World Cup final in 1966….that’s at a time when only an estimated 41 million people in England had access to a television set!