England’s World Cup final with Spain on Sunday smashed UK TV audience records for a women’s football match, despite an early kick-off and the Lionesses missing out on the trophy.
The nail-biting 1-0 defeat attracted an average audience of 13.3m watching on live television, with both BBC One and ITV broadcasting the match from Australia.
That was greater than the average audience of 11m who tuned in to see England win the European Championship final against Germany last summer, the most of any women’s game televised in Britain and second only to the coronation of King Charles III this year.
The Lionesses’ Euros triumph, however, still holds the record for the highest peak audience in the UK of 17.4m. Sunday morning’s final audience peaked at 14.8m in the closing stages of a fraught contest decided by Olga Carmona’s first-half goal.
The figures do not include those watching on devices other than TVs, with the BBC reporting a further 3.9m views via its iPlayer service and the BBC Sport website.
In the battle of the broadcasters the Beeb appeared to thrash ITV, recording a peak of 12m viewers watching its Gabby Logan-fronted coverage on BBC One, which also featured former England stars Alex Scott, Ellen White and Fara Williams.
The coronation remains the year’s biggest UK TV audience so far, pulling in an average of 18.8m viewers across 11 channels.
England’s men generated an average audience of 20.4m for their 2022 World Cup quarter-final exit to France in December, which was only shown on ITV.
Their European Championship final against Italy in July 2021 attracted an average of 29.8m across the BBC and ITV.