World Cup: England's 6-1 Destruction of Panama Gives BBC 83 Percent Share

Credit: Jean Catuffe / Getty

A peak of 14.1 million tuned in to watch Sunday's record-breaking match.

England's 6-1 routing of Panama in the World Cup on Sunday proved to be both a major victory, not just for a team rarely known for such dominating displays of soccer in major competitions, but also for the BBC. 

The game, England's second of the competition in Russia, scored big for the BBC, with an average of 9.9 million viewers, or 72.9 percent of the viewing public, tuning in. Viewership peaked with 14.1 million, an 82.9 percent share. Online, some 2.8 million caught the match via live stream on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport.

Total viewership for the game was below that for England's opening World Cup match against Tunisia, which they won 2-1 and which drew a peak audience of 18.3 million in prime time, but the audience share for the Panama match, which had a late afternoon kick-off, British time, far exceeded that England versus Tunisia's 69.2 percent share. 

The press response to the record-breaking win: England's highest score in a World Cup game — and a result that assures them a place in the last 16 — was suitably celebratory, taking over much of the front and back pages of Monday's newspapers. However, only one paper, The Daily Express,  went so far as to suggest the team could go on to win the World Cup, leading with the headline "We Believe." 

England's final game in the group stages comes against Belgium on Thursday and will be aired on ITV. The match will also likely attract serious viewing figures, with Belgium among the tournament's favorites.