Germany-Poland tops early Euro TV ratings
VIENNA, Austria -- Germany's 2-0 win over Poland topped the first three days of ratings for the European Championship, drawing about 683,000 viewers on ESPN2.
The opening day's games Saturday were on ESPN Classic, with 169,000 viewers tuning in for the Czech Republic's 1-0 victory over co-host Switzerland, and 291,000 for Portugal's 2-0 win over Turkey.
When games shifted to ESPN2 on Sunday, 445,000 watched Croatia's 1-0 win over co-host Austria before the audience peaked for the Germany game. The United States' 0-0 exhibition tie against top-ranked Argentina that night drew 457,000 viewers on ESPN Classic.
On Monday, with games on ESPN, the Netherlands' 3-0 victory over Italy was seen by 553,000 viewers and France's 0-0 tie with Romania by 393,000.
This is the first time the entire European Championship is being shown live on U.S. television without pay-per-view. Games start at noon and 2:45 p.m. EDT.
By comparison, Manchester United's victory over Chelsea in the European Champions League final on May 21 was seen by 1,097,000 viewers on ESPN2.
Euro 2008 tournament director Christian Mutschler said ratings in Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands and the two host countries had exceeded expectations, gaining audience shares of between 70 and 82 percent. More than 850,000 people have watched games at fan zones in the host nations, where fans without tickets can watch matches on giant screens in a party atmosphere.
UEFA is also happy with the corporate side, with 80 percent of all hospitality tickets being sold and 17,380 clients attending the first eight matches.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said TV ratings for Germany were especially impressive and predicted the Netherlands' 3-0 win over Italy on Monday would bring similar results. About 23.7 million people watched the Germans beat Poland 2-0 on Sunday for an audience share of 69.6 percent.
"The figures for Germany are absolutely astounding," Gaillard said. "Never before at a Euro have we had this kind of figure, and I think probably the Dutch figure for the Netherlands-Italy game is probably an all-time high for Dutch television.
"I don't think it is possible to get more than 70 percent of the population that is watching TV to be watching one program with so many channels."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index