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SBD Global/June 28, 2012/Media

Euro 2012 Quarterfinals Show Increased Interest In Soccer From U.S.

Italy's 4-2 win on penalty kicks over England Sunday attracted 20.3 million BBC viewers.
ESPN reported U.S. TV ratings for Euro 2012 are up by 63% from four years ago, with the quarterfinals rising by 31%, according to Michael Buteau of BLOOMBERG. The June 21-24 quarterfinal games averaged 1.9 million viewers this year, compared to 1.1 million viewers for Euro 2008. Seton Hall University sports management instructor Rick Gentile said, "There's no question that interest in soccer is growing in the U.S." Gentile added, "The last World Cup did a great job of spurring interest." The most-watched quarterfinal match was the June 24 game in which Italy beat England 4-2 on penalty kicks. The game drew close to 3 million viewers (BLOOMBERG, 6/27).

RATINGS CELEBRATION: In London, Louis Taylor noted executives at BBC and ITV are “celebrating unexpectedly excellent tournament viewing figures.” The Italy-England match “attracted 20.3 million BBC viewers, representing an impressive 67.8% share of the domestic audience.” No game during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was “watched by as many people in the U.K.” Of the other quarterfinals, Spain-France “attracted a healthy" 8.8 million, Portugal-Czech Republic 8.7 million and the "potentially dramatic, politically resonant," Germany-Greece match attracted 8.2 million. ITV Controller of Sport Niall Sloane said of the strong interest, “I think the Internet's had a lot to do with it. In the past you would have to buy a specialist publication if you were interested in finding out about these teams and their players." He added, “I think the phenomenon of rising audience figures has been around from about Euro 1996. I first noticed it during the World Cup in France in 1998 when figures were consistently higher than predictions” (GUARDIAN, 6/26).

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