Stellar ratings for Champions League final as Bayern pip PSG
Over 25 million people across France and Germany tuned into yesterday's Uefa Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
TF1, the commercial broadcaster in France, recorded the highest prime-time audience in the country this year, as an average of 11.4 million viewers, an audience share of 46.2 per cent, watched Bayern win 1-0 at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon thanks to a goal from Paris-born winger Kingsley Coman.
It was the first time that a French team had reached the Champions League final since 2004, when Monaco's defeat to FC Porto attracted an average audience of 11 million viewers on TF1.
In Germany, public-service broadcaster ZDF said an average audience of 12.8 million people and a peak of 13.3 million watched Bayern win their sixth European Cup/Champions League. The market share was 39.9 per cent.
For the 14-to-49-year-old audience sector, the average was 4.3 million (42.3 per cent).
While strong, the audience fell some way short of the average 21.6 million viewers (61.9 per cent) that watched the all-German Champions League final between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund on ZDF in 2013.
Yesterday's final was also shown in Germany by pay-TV broadcaster Sky, where another 1.04 million people tuned in, and on streaming service DAZN, which has not divulged its audience figures.
Likewise in France, the game was televised live by RMC Sport, the subscription broadcaster of telecoms group Altice, with audience numbers yet to emerge.
Altice, which holds Champions League rights until the end of the 2020-21 season, sub-licensed rights to the final to TF1 as it must adhere to a stipulation under French television regulations that the showpiece game is shown on a free-to-air channel.
The free-to-air showing of last year’s Champions League final in France caused controversy as Altice aired the all-English affair between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on BFM TV, its free-to-air news channel, which led to a dispute with the CSA, the French media regulator.
The CSA ruled Altice should have used a more suitable free-to-air channel from its network for the final and stated that BFM was not "compatible" with the broadcast of a live, high-profile sporting event, as it is “dedicated to news, including economic and financial news."
In January, France's Conseil d’Etat (State Council) ruled that Altice was wrong to have broadcast the final in France on BFM TV and warned it faced a sanction if it did so again for this year’s edition.
Altice had also sub-licensed rights to last week' semi-final between Bayern and another French team, Lyon, to TF1, which was watched by an average audience of 6.6 million viewers (32.1 per cent).ZDF acquired its Champions League final rights in a deal with Sky and DAZN that was announced earlier this month.
Under the terms of the country's listed-events legislation, the final must be shown free-to-air if a German club is involved.
ZDF will return as a Champions League broadcaster in the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle, having acquired rights to the final. DAZN and online retail giant Amazon will be the main rights-holders.
In other territories, Bayern's victory over PSG was watched by: 5.7 million people, a 29.3 per cent share, in Italy on Canal 5, the commercial channel of Mediaset; 1.1 million on Movistar TV, the pay-TV operator in Spain; and 455,000 and 82,000, respectively, in Norway on TV2, the commercial broadcaster, and TV3, a channel of Nordic Entertainment Group.
Meanwhile, Friday's nights second-tier Uefa Europa League final between Italy's Inter Milan and Spain's Sevilla was watched by more than 5.5 million people in Italy.
The game, which Sevilla won 3-2, drew an average audience of 1.57 million on pay-TV's Sky and 4.24 million, a 22.7 per cent share, on TV8, its FTA digital terrestrial channel.
It was the biggest Europa League final audience ever on TV8, and the biggest for Sky since 2013.
Movistar also showed the game in Spain, but audience figures have yet to be released.
Bayern will now face Sevilla in the Super Cup in Budapest on 24 September, for which Uefa is mulling using as a trial for the return of spectators to matches.
Because of coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions, from the quarter-finals onwards this season's Champions League and Europa League competitions were played as one-legged ties, in Lisbon, Portugal for the former and across Germany for the latter.
At the time that decision was made, back in Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin was insistent it would be a one-off situation.
However, with the formats having proved a success, the Slovenian executive said Uefa would consider a Final8 again for the Champions League.In an interview with Uefa, Ceferin said: "We were forced to do it but in the end we see that we found out something new. So we will think about it in the future for sure.
However, getting rid of two-legged ties in the quarter-finals and semi-finals meant six fewer games for broadcasters, and a permanent switch would impact on revenues.
Ceferin continued: "More exciting matches for sure but of course we also have to think about the fact that we have less matches and broadcasters (can) say ‘you don’t have as many matches as before, this is different’ so we will have to discuss when this crazy situation ends."