Advanced Television

World Cup viewing boost for BBC

July 2, 2018

The group stage of the 2018 Football World Cup has produced some of the largest viewing figures – TV and online – in the last 10 years for the BBC. Millions across the country have tuned in to see England’s last-minute winner against Tunisia, the six-goal demolition of Panama, Ronaldo’s spectacular hat-trick against Spain, Germany’s demise and a Messi-inspired Argentina victory over Nigeria.

Highlights of the tournament so far:

  • Six of the top ten TV audiences have been on the BBC, including; Tunisia v England (18.3 million peak), England v Panama (14.1m), Portugal v Spain (10.4m), Argentina v Nigeria (9.9m), Germany v Mexico (9.5m) and Argentina v Croatia (9.2m)
  • Tunisia v England (18.3m) is the BBC’s most watched TV event of 2018 with a further 3m online streaming requests
  • Total audience reach during the group stage for live matches is 36.8m; including World Cup highlights programmes this increases to 38.5m – compared to 36.23m at the same stage in Brazil 2014.
  • Huge online audiences across BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer saw a total of over 40.9m live and on-demand requests for the BBC’s group-stage matches.
  • England’s opener against Tunisia saw a record-breaking 3m live requests, with their second game against Panama (2.8m) becoming the second most live-streamed match ever (the previous live record was 2.2m for England v Wales during Euro 2016).
  • The top five most requested BBC matches online across BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer live and on-demand were:
    1. Tunisia v England (3.22m)
    2. England v Panama (3.13m)
    3. Portugal v Spain (2.03m)
    4. Egypt v Uruguay (2.03m)
    5. South Korea v Germany (1.98m)
  • BBC Sport online has received a total of 31.2m unique browsers so far compared with 32m for the whole of Brazil 2014, with the Player Rater receiving over 310,100 unique browsers. The BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app has been downloaded a total of 325,000 times.

“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to bring some of the most exciting games of the World Cup so far to BBC audiences and that so many have tuned in,” declared Steve Rudge, BBC lead executive, football.

“Alongside the BBC’s world-class TV and Radio coverage, record numbers of fans are using our digital services to follow the World Cup,” noted Matthew Postgate, Chief Technology & Product Officer. “Millions are watching the big matches on their connected TV at home, while millions more are sneaking a peek on their work laptop or cramming in some games on their commute. People love the BBC’s World Cup coverage -and we’re making sure they can tune in whenever and wherever they want.”


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