RTÉ’s coverage of England’s World Cup Semi-Final clash with Croatia drew over a million viewers on Wednesday night with an audience of 924,300 and 61% share* on RTÉ2 and 201,357 streams delivered on RTÉ Player.
At its peak the game was being watched by 1.12 Million viewers, making it the most watched programme of the year among 15-44 year-olds and among 15-44 year old men.
Heaven only knows what the number might have hit had Croatia’s winner deep into extra time not gone in and the game had gone to penalties.
The lure of the biggest events like the World Cup has always been magnetic, and the extra dimension of seeing England, for whatever reason that might be, makes it doubly so.
In England, the game shattered the previous record for a single event on a single channel with 30.9 million tuning in on ITV and via it’s online ITV Hub. That beats the 32-year record set by an episode of Eastenders in 1986.
The only two events to have united the nation more in history, at least in the TV era were the World Cup win in 1966 and Princess Diana’s Funeral in 1997 both of which were shown across both BBC and ITV Channels.
The sight of Croatia making it to their first ever Final should inspire Irish fans and players to believe that our slightly larger population and longer history can one day deliver such a magical outcome for us.
Criticism of how England went overboard in their support might seem a little misplaced were it to happen here.
RTÉ Group Head of Sport, Declan McBennett said, “It’s been a phenomenal summer of sport so far with more to come, including the inaugural European Championships and of course, the climactic stages of the newly-formatted GAA Championships. There’s lots more sport from RTÉ to look forward to this summer”.
The FIFA World Cup Final will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player this Sunday 15 July from 3pm.