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Fans were not allowed in the stadium Sunday night to watch German club Bayern Munich squeeze by Paris St. Germain 1-0 in the tightly contested final of the 2020 Champions League, the top event in European club soccer.
But the closed-door match —required due to the coronavirus pandemic —didn’t stop soccer fans from tuning in. Television broadcasts of the match smashed audience records on the continent.
A peak of 12.79 million German viewers caught the action, such as it was, on public broadcaster ZDF, securing a 39.9 percent market share for the network, easily winning the night. The number two show in Germany on Sunday was the popular Tatort crime procedural, which had to make do with just 6.1 million viewers on the night. ZDF did even better in the key 14 to 49 demographic, where it notched up a 42.3 percent share of the viewing public.
French footie fans were no less enthusiastic. Some 11.4 million tuned in on public network TF1 to watch PSG’s first-ever Champions League final. The audience, which translated to a 46.2 percent market share for TF1, was the biggest of the year for the channel and an all-time record for a Champions League final in the territory. Far behind in France was the Sunday night movie slot on the France 2 network. The 2015 French romantic comedy Love at First Child, starring Patrick Bruel and Isabelle Carré drew just 2.33 million viewers for a 9.3 percent share.
Across the channel in Great Britain, fans caught the match on YouTube. As a condition of its U.K. rights contract, pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport had to make the Champions League final available free-to-air. BT did not report final audience figures for the game. BT recorded 11.3 million viewers across all platforms, digital and TV, for the 2019 Champions League final, which featured two English teams, Liverpool and Tottenham (Liverpool won).
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