As England’s victorious players gathered Monday with thousands of fans in Trafalgar Square to celebrate their first European soccer championship, the BBC released stunning TV viewership figures that quantified just how much of the nation they’d captivated.
England’s 2-1 win over Germany in the Women’s Euro final, the BBC said, was the most-watched program of any kind in the United Kingdom in 2022, and the most-watched women’s soccer game ever in the UK.
The peak audience of 17.4 million, plus 5.9 million streams online and on mobile, represented a roughly 34% share of the UK’s entire population. (The 2022 Super Bowl, by comparison, drew a 36.9 rating in the US)
It topped the previous mark of 11.7 million viewers who watched England lose to the US in the semifinals of the 2019 World Cup.
Sunday’s Euro final also set records in Germany. Public broadcaster ARD said Monday that an average audience of 17.9 million watched the match, making it the most-viewed women’s soccer game ever in Germany as well.
It narrowly topped the 16.95 million fans who watched Germany lose to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals.
In the US, the most-viewed soccer telecast ever remains the 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the US and Japan. That was watched by an average of 26.7 million people, and peaked at over 30 million viewers — numbers comparable to the BBC’s for last summer’s men’s Euro final between England and Italy.
Relative to population sizes, though, the UK numbers for both the men’s and women’s finals are far larger.
Euro 2022 also shattered attendance records. The sold-out final at Wembley Stadium, seen live by 87,192 fans, drew more people than any other European championship game, women’s or men’s, ever.
The entire tournament, hosted by 10 stadiums across England, drew more than 500,000 fans — more than twice the previous record of 240,055, set in 2017 — despite some big English clubs balking at staging games at their home grounds.
Continental women’s championships in Africa and South America also filled stadiums. A record crowd of 45,000 watched Morocco beat Botswana to qualify for its first Women’s World Cup.