England’s penalty shootout watched by 24 million viewers on ITV

Win over Colombia one of the most-watched events in recent TV history

  England’s Jordan Pickford celebrates after Eric Dier scored the winning penalty. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

England’s Jordan Pickford celebrates after Eric Dier scored the winning penalty. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

 

More than 24 million people in the UK watched Eric Dier score England’s winning penalty against Colombia on Tuesday night, making the World Cup last 16 match one of the most-watched events in recent TV history.

ITV said the game as a whole was seen by an average of 16.5 million people, with the audience growing as the public became aware of the impending penalty shootout.

The previous British TV broadcast to attract more viewers was the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony , and England’s victory was watched by substantially more people than the royal wedding coverage in May.

The actual audience for the match may be even higher as official figures do not include the growing number of people who choose to stream matches on their computer or mobile. ITV said it received 3.3m requests for the game on its ITV Hub streaming platform.

The figures are excellent news for the commercial broadcaster, especially given the long-term decline in TV audiences. ITV said its coverage of the match came close to being the highest peak audience for live sport on British television since England played Portugal in the 2004 European Championship.

It was bad news for rival channels, with the football attracting 81 per cent of the TV audience on Tuesday night.

England’s previous World Cup games brought in average audiences of 13.7 million against Tunisia , 9.9 million against Panama and 13 million against Belgium. The BBC has the rights to England’s next World Cup game against Sweden in the quarter-finals, which will be shown at 3pm on Saturday.

If England win, the team’s semi-final match will be shown by ITV. Both channels will share coverage of the final.

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