International soccer’s popularity among U.S. viewers continues to grow rapidly. Following record ratings for the Men’s World Cup Finals in 2010, the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship is scoring major ratings increases too. Through the 24 matches in the group stage of the championship jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, ESPN’s live English-language broadcasts have averaged 1 million viewers, up 82% versus the group stage matches in the previous championship in 2008. The most-watched match in the group stage was a 1-1 tie in Group C between Spain and Italy on Sunday, June 10, which was seen by an average audience of 2.1 million, larger than any of the 31 telecasts in 2008, except the final on ABC between Germany vs. Spain, which was watched by an average of 3.8 million viewers. The elimination rounds of Euro 2012 start tomorrow, and with most favorites still in the running, including Italy, Spain, England, Portugal, Germany and France, the championship will likely continue to deliver big ratings for ESPN.
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