World Cup: German Tie, Italian Loss Miss TV Ratings Record

AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa
Ghana fans celebrated their 2-2 draw with Germany Saturday night.

Viewership for the tournament remains strong across Europe but slips in the U.K. after Team England is knocked out.

A pair of disappointing results for multiple World Cup winners Italy and Germany and a barnstormer of a match by one-time winner France kept European audiences fused to their sets this weekend.

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Television ratings for Friday's and Saturday's matches didn't hit all-time or even tournament highs in most territories but remains solidly in the double digit millions in the continent's most populous nations.

Italy's shocking 0-1 defeat by tiny Costa Rica Friday night drew 15.87 million on public channelRai, a 67.19 percent share and more than 3 million viewers on pay platform Sky Italia. Viewership on Rai peaked at 17.7 million, just under 67 percent of the audience, while Sky recorded 3.3 million unique viewers for the match, or 84.7 percent of its subscriber base.

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In France, 16.74 million viewers, or 61.6 percent of the audience, caught their team's 5-2 demolition of Switzerland, a win that means LesBleus have qualified for the next round of the Cup.

But it was Germany that dominated the group — in ratings terms if not on the pitch — where an average of 24.54 million viewers, a 76.1 percent share watched their team draw with Ghana 2-2 on Saturday. The peak audience for the game was over 25 million, or around an 80 percent share. Germany vs. Ghana was also the top match in neighboring Holland, where 3.3 million fans watched the Netherlands' traditional soccer rivals barely escape defeat to an impressive Team Ghana.

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Disappointing, in contrast, were viewership figures in the U.K. An average of 3.91 million Brits, or 34.5 percent of the audience, caught Costa Rica's victory over Italy on its early evening broadcast on the BBC.

But the match, whose outcome means England will not advance in the Cup whatever the results of their final game, appeared to kill interest in soccer on the island. A total of 4.41 million tuned in for Friday's primetime match, France's 5-2 victory over Switzerland, on commercial net ITV. With a 23.6 percent share, it was the lowest-rated primetime match of the World Cup so far in the U.K.