England’s FIFA World Cup campaign continues to pull in huge television audiences, with Sunday’s 6-1 victory over Panama reaching a peak audience of over 14 million viewers, as well as a further 2.8 million via iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.
It follows the opening group game against Tunisia, which reached an average audience of 13.7 million, and peaked at 18.3 million during the closing minutes.
An average of just under 10 million viewers were watching BBC1 during their World Cup coverage of England v Panama.
While Panama’s match was down on the total viewers who tuned into England’s opening game, the share of the audience for the Panama match was higher - an average of 72.9% - with almost three quarters of everybody watching TV at that time cheering on Harry Kane and the team.
England’s latest group game at the weekend was the second most viewed programme of the year, behind the opener against Tunisia, beating the royal wedding in May, which pulled in 8.65 million viewers and a peak audience of 13.1 million.
Yesterday’s television audience share for the England game of 82.9% was one of the largest in the history of television in this country. It was on a par with the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Over 14 million watched at lunchtime on a gorgeous sunny day. Staggering.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 25, 2018
With Gareth Southgate’s side already safely through to the knockout rounds, further records will be likely to fall as the tournament progresses.
England have one remaining group match against Belgium on Thursday evening to decide the group winner. England’s first two matches have been shown live on the BBC, with ITV to broadcast the final group game, as well as England’s first knockout match, which will take place either on Monday or Tuesday evening, depending on where they finish in the group.
Some of the largest audiences in UK television history have been for England World Cup games. The semi-final match with West Germany in 1990 was watched by 25.2 million people - the biggest UK audience for a World Cup match - while 23.8 million tuned in to watch England play Argentina in the last 16 of France ’98.