The European Football Championship EURO 2020 continues to generate interest among the TV audience.

The 16th edition of the EURO 2020 European Football Championship kicked off with a lavish ceremony at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome on 11 June. For the first time the event is being held at 11 stadiums in 11 cities by 11 UEFA national associations in honor of the 60th “birthday” of the championship. The event is long awaited by the football fans, because due to the complicated pandemic situation it has been postponed for a year. Second consecutive edition of the championship includes 24 teams that promise a spectacular battle for the prestigious first place. On the chart we present a comparison with the results from the previous editions of the championship, according to the reported TV ratings:

Source: GARB Audience Measurement Bulgaria. Period: 2008-11 July 2021.

The last four championships from 2008 to the current year are arranged in chronological order, and the average values ​​are grouped according to their different phases. For the purposes of the comparative analysis, we chose a broad target group, covering all people aged between 15 and 64 years. The data represent an average rating for all matches played in the specific phase, and when a match is broadcast by more than one TV channel, the total reported rating is accumulated. For example, this year the official opening ceremony of the championship was broadcast on BNT 1, BNT 3, Nova TV and Diema Sport 2 and the result with which it appears on the chart is a sum of the ratings of the four channels. With each subsequent edition, the opening ceremony of the championship becomes more spectacular and interesting for the audience. If in 2008 and 2012 the interest in it is lower than in the other phases of the championship, then the last two championships attract much more spectators for the official part. In 2021 the opening ceremony took place in the capital of Italy, and for the entertainment of the fans took care musicians from the local police orchestra, dancers, as well as Andrea Bocelli and Bono from U2. The ceremony started at 9 p.m., lasted one hour and was broadcast simultaneously on BNT 1, BNT 3, Nova TV and Diema Sport 2. The parallel broadcast of the opening ceremony of EURO 2020 on four TV channels contributes to the high result in 2021.

Traditionally, each championship begins with group phases in which all qualified teams participate. In general, the interest in them is the weakest compared to the other stages of the race. During EURO 2012 the group phases reached the highest average rating – 8.3%. In the next two editions of the championships the interest in this phase decreases and remains relatively constant – 5.8% (EURO 2016) and 5.7% (EURO 2020).

In 2016 is the first European Championship in the group stage of which 24 teams play, instead of 16 teams, as in the previous ones. This condition leads to the formation of a completely new phase – round of 16. The data show that the audience’s interest is growing compared to the previous stage, and this year the rating of the round of 16 even exceeds the rating of the quarterfinals. The match with the highest score in this stage of the championship was broadcast on 28.06 (Monday), between the teams of Croatia and Spain and reaches a 12.39% rating in the target group All 15-64. The figures in the chart show that as we approach the culmination, viewers’ interest in front of TV screens increases. The data for the quarterfinals in the previous three championships prove exactly this rule, as in EURO 2008 the achieved average rating of the quarterfinals is 53% above the average rating of the matches in the group stage. An exception is the current championship, in which the results of the quarterfinals are lower than those in the previous phase. The match from this stage of the game with the highest TV audience interest is the match played on 02.07 (Friday) between the teams of Belgium and Italy – 10.67% rating in the target group All 15-64.

The semi-final phase of EURO 2020 has the highest reported average rating among the last four editions of the championships. The matches Italy-Spain (06.07) and England-Denmark (07.07) registered an average rating of 13.2% and this is an increase of 59% above the average rating from the previous phase of the championship. The semi-finals from the previous years also have high results, and in 2012 and 2016 the values are relatively close – 12.0% (EURO 2012) and 11.6% (EURO 2016).

On 11.07.2021 (Sunday), the final match of the championship was played at Wembley Stadium in London. The curious thing in this case is that Italy was a symbolic host and England a visiting team. After an even score in regular time, the players reach a climax worthy of a final, and the winner is decided by taking penalties in the awarded overtime. The final is broadcast on BNT 1, BNT 3, Nova TV and the newly launched in July – Diema Sport 3, and the average rating that reaches is the record for EURO 2020 – 15.8% in the broad target group All 15-64. This result ranks it third among the finals of the championships in question, and a probable reason for the lower rating compared to previous editions is the elections held on the same day for MPs and the defocused attention of the audience.

The following chart presents detailed information on the performance of each EURO 2020 match in three target groups – All 15-64, men and women:

Source: GARB Audience Measurement Bulgaria. Period: 11 June-11 July, 2021.

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