Over 15M viewers watched reigning World Cup champions France edge out Germany on France’s M6 Tuesday night in the first major head-to-head of Euro 2020 which runs through July 11 and is being played in various locations throughout Europe and the UK. That was good for a 57.5 share from 9PM local and included a peak of 17.4M viewers (by way of comparison, 12.6M watched France’s entry to the World Cup in 2018, giving TF1 a 69 share on a Saturday afternoon). Tuesday’s match drew the highest TV ratings since 2018, M6 said. These figures don’t take into account public venue screenings, and there were plenty of supporters watching at bars, restaurants and fan zones.
— Nicolas de Tavernost (@ndetavernost) June 16, 2021
France currently has an 11PM curfew, so those revelers had to rush home after the match. However, French Ministry of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, had on Monday issued a directive to the nation’s security forces “to show particular leniency” during checks on folks returning to their homes. The ministry also said that there would be no exemption for the curfew during France games. This will cease to be an issue from June 30 when the curfew is kiboshed.
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In Germany, 22.55M viewers watched the first half of the match on ZDF, local media reports. That was good for a 67.4 share, which dropped to 63 during the second half.
France won the game off of an own-goal by the Mannschaft’s Mats Hummels during the first half. Les Bleus later got two across, but both Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema’s goals were ruled out for offside.
Les Bleus montrent la voie ! 🇫🇷 #FRAALL
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 15, 2021
About 2,500 French fans traveled to Munich’s Allianz Arena to attend the match which welcomed an estimated 14,500 spectators in total given sanitary restrictions. That’s the lowest amount of attendees the tournament is expected to see throughout.
Along with the mini-controversy surrounding whether Germany’s Antonio Rüdiger bit France’s Paul Pogba on the shoulder (the jury is still out, but the players embraced after the match), there was serious drama on the pitch ahead of the start. A protestor parachuted into the arena, striking camera wires and causing debris to fall on the field, in the main grandstand and narrowly missing French coach Didier Deschamps.
UEFA called the move “reckless and dangerous” and said several people with injuries were being treated at hospital. Authorities are looking into the incident which was instigated by a Greenpeace militant. The parachute read “Kick Out Oil!” and appears to have been directed at tournament sponsor Volkswagen. The head of Greenpeace France apologized to the “people who were injured, the people who may have been frightened and to Didier Deschamps,” on FranceInfo this morning.
Also in Germany, the first game of the day between Hungary and reigning Euro Cup champs Portugal (which the latter won 3-0) was watched by 6.44M people (34.4 share). Both of those teams are also in Group F with Germany and France.
In the UK, ITV’s coverage of France vs Germany scored a crowd of 6.6M over the course of a three-hour broadcast. The showpiece match hit a five-minute peak of 9.4M viewers in the second half, according to BARB figures supplied by overnights.tv, as the holders closed in on a narrow victory.
Earlier in the tournament, England got their campaign underway against Croatia at a reduced capacity Wembley Stadium. Under the brilliant sunshine of a balmy British summer day, England ran out 1-0 winners, with 7.6M people watching BBC One’s coverage. The ratings climbed to a five-minute peak of 11.6M in the final throes of the game, which turned out to be a fairly comfortable win for the hosts.
All eyes in England now turn to Friday, when Gareth Southgate’s men take on Scotland in a mouth-watering home nations derby. The game kicks off at 8PM local time at Wembley and will surely entice the biggest UK television audience of the tournament so far.