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First audience figures in for Euro 2008

Roger Mosey | 11:09 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

The doom-mongers have been proved wrong about Euro 2008. It has unquestionably had a big hole in it because of the failure of the home nations to qualify. But audiences are still coming to it in large numbers and I am 100 per cent confident they will grow further.

The biggest TV audience so far was a peak of over seven million for Netherlands v Italy on ITV1. So we are looking forward to France taking on the Dutch on BBC One on Friday night and then the France v Italy clash next Tuesday. But other figures have been strong too; more than five million watched Germany v Poland and a large tea-time audience tuned in for Spain's thrilling performance against Russia.

These figures show, in our view, that major international football tournaments should remain free-to-air. They attract people who like to witness the drama of the top stars in the spotlight, and in a world that's increasingly networked we can enjoy the ups and downs of our European neighbours even without our own teams in the fray.

What is interesting as well is the way the Euros are catching hold among our online users. This week we had an all-time record for the use of audio and video on this website - driven partly by the ability to replay that controversial Ruud van Nistelrooy goal. There were also huge numbers of comments on our You Are The Ref blog - all of which we enjoyed reading (yes, even the satirical one about Val Doonican).

Cristiano Ronaldo against the Czech Republic

One of our ambitions in BBC Sport is to bring together our strengths in TV, radio, online, mobile and new platforms to deliver sport where and when you want it. The rights agreement around the Euros allows us to do that, and so will our deals for the Olympics, the next two World Cups, Formula One and the Football League.

As ever, we welcome your feedback on how that's working for you. Meantime we are waiting to see whether or when Euro 2008 breaks through the 10m barrier. Given more than five million watched the waterlogged Switzerland v Turkey game on BBC Two, despite the rival attraction of The Apprentice, there is every indication it will.


  • Comment number 1.

    I have said repeatedly that Euro 2008 will still get large audiences so I am not surprised by this. Like you say, people still have an interest even if the home nations are not present.

    I have enjoyed the coverage so far and think your decison to have all the presentation teams in Austria was the right one. The BBC coverage just has a better feel and atmosphere to it compared to ITV who have stayed in the UK.

    The online features and BBCi features have also been a good companion to the TV and radio coverage. I have especially enjoyed watching clips of old tournaments and MOTD unplugged has been good although it could get more behind the scenes like was promised and show everyone at work and what is involved, just having pundits/commentators reiterating what has already been said on MOTD about matches is a waste of the show IMO.

    Keep up the good work though, you are doing much better than ITV and I fell it will only get better as the tournament progresses.

  • Comment number 2.

    I here murmurings today of a beefed up Sport Interactive service to come in the Autumn - any more info on what that will include on top of what's currently offered?

  • Comment number 3.


    Euro 2008 has been very good

    The Euros should also stay on fta TV

    Can BBCTV bring back fantasy football to the tv as here in Ireland Apres Match funny shows have been very succesfully on RTEtv

    I think BBCtv was right not to bid for the UEFA Cup rights from 2009 as most of the games are very bad and boring

    Can bbctv buy the last year of itv's football league coverage and start your new Football League coverage from 2008 instead of 2009

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Mr Mosey,

    I as well predicted that the Euros would still get high figures and i have to say i have really enjoyed watching most of the games.

    I just hope the BBC and ITV will fight UEFA all the way and ensure the Euros and the World Cup are kept on free to air tv.

    Is the next World Cup definetly going to be on free to air tv?

  • Comment number 5.

    I am enjoying the BBC HD coverage on Sky.

    What sound is the BBC providing. My AV amp decodes 5 channels, but the balance does not seem right. The Sky Guide indicates no DD!

    ITV angers me in not having their matches in HD unless I get the new FreeSat receiver, which I am unwilling to do. I have complained to UEFA, asking them to provide the HD feed to the BBC, but nothing heard.

    Good Football is good football, even if no UK team managed to get through.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the prediction you made on this blog a couple of months ago has been proven correct. While there was little hype before the tournament began, now that its here, there is a great deal of interest.

    The use of video highlights and features on the website has been a definate improvement. Its been fantastic, for instance when I was unfortunate enough to miss the great Spain match, to watch it back in its entirety on the iplayer.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't see how the failure of the home nations to qulify would make anyone think that the ratings wouldn't be high. This is the European Championships, one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world, of course people are going to tune in to watch it. Some of the football on show has been breathtaking and it's only going to get better.

    In fact, in a way the failure of the home nations has made the coverage slightly more bearable to watch, as most fans here north of the border will understand...

  • Comment number 8.

    re 5 Does not the sky box tune to the ITV HD channel? If it doesn't Free SKy is pretty useless.? Please could techi tell the nation!

  • Comment number 9.

    From an English perspective, it is refreshing that we are not there. To the rest of Europe, we are idiots, and rightly so.
    1) We think we're the best, we're not
    2) We think we have a God-given right to reach the latter stages of every big competition, we don't
    3) Our travelling fool fans take a negative booze-fuelled 'behaviour' with them along with their passports, rather than any real love of the game or sincere patriotism
    4) For every five 'fools' there's one mild-mannerd middle-class metrosexual bloke who will say that not all English fans are like that, quietly defending the hoarde, but doing nothing to stand up against these idiots when actually in a foreign country observing this 'behaviour'
    5) The English team is a very reflection of manhood in general in modern Britain, a bit undeveloped to be honest and sadly regressing

    We should start to focus on sports that we might do better at as a nation, let this one take a back-burner, get coaches and academies to instil a new ethos and approach among yong players and who knows, one day we might actually pleasantly surpise the rest of Europe with a mature-beyond-our years, skillful and accomplished football performance.

    Quite frankly a distant distant reality. Focus on boxing, rugby, athletics but forget about the national team until there is a real c-change in the social dynamic of this country. Only when there is wisdom and maturity on the streets, will this be replicated on the football field.

  • Comment number 10.

    OK I get that this might not be too important to many sports fans but will someone PLEASE do something about what Gary and the other pundits are wearing for the Euros.

    Every night they seem to be in uniform, with matching shirts and trousers.

    Last night all four of them had pale blue shirts and dark trousers. When I saw the wide shot I started laughing. Given the studio colour they almost disappeared.

    I understand they are not going to be calling each other up before the show to discuss outfits but surely the BBC wardrobe department must be able to find a spare shirt somewhere, even for just one of them.

  • Comment number 11.

    BBC is greater than ITV in every respect. With Lineker, Hanson and Martin O Neill there is great conversations and even laughs. Didnt like Shearer at first but have to admit he is going on my and he has loyalty to the BBC with turning down job offers.

    The ITV show is ruined with the adverts. We have two adverts before the match, two at half time and two at the end. The main presenter Steve Rider is awful, I mean is this guy a robot because his emotions are non-existant.

    BBC are doing a great job and I enjoy listening to the BBC pundits when they get into a little banter. The BBC Sport website I feel is BBCs greatest achivement so far. Watching live footy, listening to commentary on 5LIVE and watching highlights and past euro videos is great. I allways check the site at least 4times a day.

    Thankyou for reading

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks all for the feedback, and here are some quick responses:

    To Brekkie in #2: yes, there will be a much stronger BBC Sport presence on the red button from this autumn. More details soon, but it's part of the wider range of choice we're planning across tv, radio and online.

    Professor Techno in #4: yes, the BBC and ITV have the rights to the FIFA World Cups in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.

    Cping500 in #8 prompted by Bill Taylor in #5: at the moment ITV's HD service is available on Freesat but not on the Sky platform.

    Whataretheywearing in #10: noted. At least we haven't had the tight trousers complaint during this tournament...

  • Comment number 13.

    I notice that Fabio Capello was interviewed AGAIN tonight. Will there be interviews with the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish managers too ... or are the BBC, once again, thinking that England = Britain.

    Please remember what the first B in BBC stands for.

  • Comment number 14.

    If footballing fare like the Netherlands/France game is to be served up for the rest of the tournament it's going to be superb. What a game.

    I love the interactivity, and the You Are The Ref discussions - please keep that going on a weekly or biweekly format after the tournament.

    BBC is again streets ahead of ITV, especially in terms of ITV shamefully taking an advert break after the national anthems....

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I will no doubt get shouted down for this but to be honest I am enjoying this tournament so much more because England are not in it. There are no drunken yobs strolling the street singing the national anthem and there are no 'animals' kicking in bus stops because England has lost. I don't have to wince every time I see a tabloid newspaper declaring war on another nation simply because they dared to play better than the three lions.

    Bring back Steve McClaren and long may England not qualify for tournaments.

  • Comment number 17.

    And just to add that the amazing Netherlands v France match last night equalled the highest audience so far with a peak of 7.1m.

    So we can confirm that the final simultaneous group games will be split across our channels like this:

    Austria v Germany on BBC One/HD
    Poland v Croatia on BBC Three

    France v Italy on BBC One/HD
    Netherlands v Romania on BBC Three

    - with all those matches available online too.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Roger,
    I think the BBC and ITV have done well.
    BBC have done well by sending the team to Vienna and having a studio based in 1 place like they did 2 years ago in Berlin rather then having the team flung across the countries.
    ITV have done a good thing by having them based in the UK in a studio (Saves Steve Rider travelling across the world to cover Football and F1!)
    However that studio they use looks like one of the Local News studios and the one that they use for the Japanese and Chinese GP's(to save Rider all the hassle of travelling for the Champs League Football and F1!)
    I hope that the BBC and ITV can fight UEFA and FIFA from selling major tournaments to pay-per-view broadcasters such as Sky and Setanta. (Hope our Government makes one right decision!)
    However one small silly flaw in the BBC's coverage, Jonathan Pearce asking Fabio Capello stupid questions.
    Also Roger, may I ask one question : Is this John Motson's last tournament as BBC Commentator?
    Everey year, the media says it is but can you tell us if it is?
    But overall, brilliant coverage however that will be all lost when ITV gets the England contract
    (Cant wait for the BBCs 2010 and 2014 WC, Euro 2012 Coverage and coverage of the Olympics, F1, Football League and Wimbledon!)

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Roger,

    Given the good viewing figures for the EURO 2008 games, is there any chance you could show some World Cup qualifiers with non-home nations as a replacement for the England matches?

  • Comment number 20.

    From my easy chair here in Florida I have enjoyed the Euro games very much. Can't think why some pundits over there doubted that the campaign would not be a success.

    Some thoughts from afar: Some really bad referee decisions throughout the games so far; A terrific Netherlands team who really seem destined to win the cup; the absence of crowd problems and no apparent need for increased police presence either in Austria or Switzerland (Could it be due to there being none of those boozy English fans in attendance?); and the ridiculous "dives" that seem to have become so much a part of football in these modern times. As a Villa fan of yore, I don't recall players in my day resorting to such unsportsmanlike conduct in order to win a foul or penalty call.

    And what in the world is scoring a goal a reason for pulling off a shirt or pulling it over the head, then sliding towards the fans on the knees!

  • Comment number 21.

    i think that the bbc has been covering this tournament very excellent.

  • Comment number 22.

    Audiences do seem to be well down on the World Cup from two years ago when many games - even those not involving England - got over 10m viewers. See link below.

    Can't seem to find any figures from Euro 2004 though. Does Roger know how viewing figures this year compare with four years ago?

  • Comment number 23.


    As it happened at the World Cup in Germany, after hearing again the Brazilian fellow talking on BBC about Scolari's appointment, why not bring more often a different opinion on the games ?

    Sometimes it is brilliant to hear someone not so " British" talking about our game!

    Ricardo is like a fresh view around the opinions we hear all over. Is anyone out there sharing this opinion with me ?

    Keep on the good work


  • Comment number 24.

    "Does Roger know how viewing figures this year compare with four years ago?"

    I'd imagine that if the comparison is favourable he will be happy to oblige.

    From a quick googling it seems that the highest rated match in Euro 2004 was England Portugal (20.7m average). The highest rated group game was Croatia England with 18.1m.

    Excluding England matches the final managed 10.9m and the highest rated group game was Portugal-Spain with 8.7 m. There were several group games around the 8m mark.

    So so far it looks like the figures aren't holdinhg up even to those games where ENgland weren't playing at Euro 2004.

    Having said that it is probably a bit early to tell. And I'm sure Mr Mosey has a better comparison, whether it is favourable enough to post is another question.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with #11 about BBC having better talent than ITV ... but I just wish they'd use their talent like they did on the football pitch.
    Cut back to studio and how bored do Lineker and Hansen look. They act and talk as if they wish they weren't there, but on the golf course Lineker mentioned the other night.
    Take last night. Hansen:"The tournament starts tomorrow (Italy v France)." What rubbish. There's been some great games so far. has he not been watching. Get excited guys.
    It just about sums up the studio team's attitude this season.
    Take England v USA friendly. Which wasn't that bad a match, especially for an England friendly. Studio: 'Wish we were watching The Apprentice'.
    Was it a 6th round replay between M'boro and someone. Studio: "Wish we were watching the news".
    FA Cup semi-final. They wanted to be anywhere but Wembley.
    Come on guys wake up and smell the roses. Do you not enjoy the game anymore? If not, move on.
    Thanks goodness for Marcel Desailly ... someone who really looks happy and in to his football.
    We know you're so much better than the other channel ... please Roger, can you get them enthusiastic again.

  • Comment number 27.

    To RedRedRobin and APbbforum: we never said audiences would be the same as tournaments where the home nations were taking part.

    But I mentioned doom-mongers in the original post, and they were the people who said viewing figures would be dreadful and nobody would care.

    There was another curious view that the BBC and ITV had bought the Euros assuming England and maybe Scotland would qualify, so had come an unexpected cropper. Actually - and I speak as someone who was at Old Trafford for the 0-0 draw with Macedonia - we always thought it was possible or even probable there'd be no Home Nations. But this is a great international football tournament and we're proud to be showing it.

    Even last night with the middling Germany-Austria game we had a peak of 5.4m, and from 9pm onwards it beat all other channels. (Another 400,000 were watching Poland-Croatia on BBC Three.) I'd be astonished if France-Italy tonight didn't do even better than that - so I'll tempt fate for now and report back tomorrow!

  • Comment number 28.

    Hello Roger,

    I think it is fair to say competitve football at the highest level will always attract alot of interest even if non of the home nations are there. Thats why i am a bit dismayed about UEFAs plan to try and get the Euros onto Skysports.

    In your opinion Mr Mosey how realistic to you think it is that Sky or Setanta could be broadcasting the next Euro tournament?

  • Comment number 29.

    To add to my post #27: Italy v France got the highest peak of the tournament so far with 7.4m - and a further 0.9m were watching Netherlands v Romania at the same time.

    As for the quarter-finals: the BBC will be showing Croatia v Turkey on Friday and Spain v Italy on Sunday.

  • Comment number 30.

    Is this the place to say how good it's been to hear Danny Baker back on 606. Someone who enjoys football and doesn't just grumble all the time like Greeny.

  • Comment number 31.

    Also, a note from Roger Mosey:

    Despite the game itself, last night's Italy v Spain match recorded the highest ratings of the tournament so far. The 15-minute peak audience was 9.3m for the second half of extra time, with the 5' of the penalty shoot-out watched by 10 million.



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