World Cup Final Sets German TV Audience Record

Associated Press

UPDATED: About 34.65 million people watched the game on ARD, beating a high mark set by the 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil, as the U.K. coverage on BBC and ITV averaged 15 million viewers.

LONDON — Germany's Sunday-night soccer World Cup final win over Argentina in extra time set an all-time ratings record in Germany.

Public broadcast network ARD said 34.65 million people tuned in on average, making the game the highest-rated program ever in Germany since audience data has been collected. The game had a share of 86.3 percent of all Germans watching TV at the time, which is also one of the highest figures ever.

The data doesn't include fans who watched at public viewing sites, such as in bars or on big screens in outdoor locations around Berlin and other cities, a popular viewing option in Germany that was expected to attract millions for the final.

PHOTOS World Cup: Best, Worst and Weirdest Merchandise

The total audience beat the previous record set with Tuesday night's 7-1 semifinal win over host nation Brazil on broadcast network ZDF, which had reached nearly 32.6 million viewers on average. The game gave ZDF an audience share of 87.8 percent of people watching TV in the country at the time.

The previous audience records were reached in 2010 when the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Spain drew 31.1 million viewers for a share of 83.2 percent. Germany lost the game 0-1.

PHOTOS The Most Infamous Moments in World Cup History

The highest share was reached with 89.2 million in 2010 during the quarterfinal match between Germany and Argentina. The audience only hit 25.95 million that day, though. The second-highest share was reached in 1990 when Germany beat Argentina in the final to win its third and most recent World Cup trophy.

In comparison to the final, Germany's quarterfinal against France had drawn 26.3 million viewers, the Round of 16 game against Algeria had reached 28.2 million, while the team's first match of the World Cup against Portugal drew 26.4 million, followed by a 2-2 draw against Ghana that averaged 24.5 million viewers.

PHOTOS World Cup 2014: The 11 Biggest Shocks and Surprises

In France, the final averaged 13.6 million viewers, on TF1 with a peak audience of 15.3 million. That meant a share of 61 percent.

In the U.K., the BBC and ITV both aired the final. The BBC averaged an audience of 12.1 million, down from 12.7 million for the 2010 final, while ITV averaged 2.9 million, up from 2.8 million, according to ratings consultancy Attentional. Viewership for the BBC peaked at 16.7 million, with ITV reaching close to 4 million viewers at the peak.

It was the biggest U.K. TV audience since the Summer Olympics 2012 closing ceremony in London, according to observers. On a combined basis, the audience share peaked at more than 75 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time, up from 72.7 percent for the last World Cup final.

Twitter: @georgszalai