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BBC wins Women’s World Cup battle of the broadcasters, but King Charles still reigns supreme


England’s Lionesses may have been pipped at the post by Spain in yesterday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, but UK broadcasters are today celebrating record average audiences for a women’s game.

Overnight data released by Barb revealed that viewers peaked at 14.8million across BBC and ITV’s on-TV broadcast and streaming services – non-TV devices are not yet included in the figures.

That peak is slightly below the 17.4m peak who tuned in to watch the Lionesses beat Germany in last year’s Euros final, but the average viewership of 13.3m over the full 90 minutes is believed to be UK record for a women’s match. The 14.8m high was reached at 12:54pm, as the game drew to a close, while the TV set share was 84.7 per cent, Barb reported.

Although full numbers across all devices are yet to be counted, early results suggest the BBC edged possession in the battle of the broadcasters, with both BBC and ITV screening the game. BBC viewers peaked at 12m, despite the broadcaster raising heckles on social media when the Spanish commentary from next door drowned out its own audio feed, according to irate tweeters:

BBC viewers received unexpected Spanish commentary yesterday

The game didn’t quite manage to snatch the trophy for most-watched TV event of 2023 to date. That honour still goes to King Charles’ coronation, which peaked at over 20m viewers with an 18.8m average, although it had the advantage of blanket coverage on 11 channels so did have something of a head start.

The BBC has also put out some handy data about its viewing figures for this year’s tournament, for the budding Stattos in the room, including:

  • BBC television reach (15 mins or more) has been 21.2 million
  • Matches have been streamed 25.7 million times across BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website and app – this is a 75% increase on the 14.7 million streams during the Women’s World Cup in 2019
  • England v Spain was the most-watched game of the tournament with a peak BBC TV audience of 12 million and peak share of 71%
  • There were 22.6 million unique visitors to the BBC Sport website and app throughout the tournament
  • Total number of 2023 Women’s World Cup content plays on BBC Sounds was 1.9 million, with 232,000 requests for the final 

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