Seven of the top ten most-watched programmes on Irish television last year were live sporting events. This matches the number in 2019 and beats that of both 2020 and 2018.

The All-Ireland Football Final between Tyrone and Mayo on RTÉ2 was the second most-watched programme overall, while nearly a million streams of The Saturday Game / The Sunday Game Live were watched on the RTÉ Player during the year.

RTÉ Sport’s coverage of UEFA Euro 2020 also scored big with Irish fans as 2.5 million streams from the action-packed tournament were streamed on the RTÉ Player, and the final where Italy defeated England in a dramatic penalty shoot-out attracted 941,000 viewers on RTÉ2, making it the third most-watched TV programme of the year.

England’s semi-final win over Denmark was the fourth most-watched and all three of them attracted a bigger audience than the most-watched match of 2020, the All Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Mayo.

The football final saw a seven per cent lift in the number watching. The Hurling Final between Limerick and Cork was up 8 per cent on last year, coming in ninth overall with an audience of 774,000.

All five of the Guinness Six Nations matches came in the top 26 with the France game attracting the biggest audience of 798,000, England one of 782,000, Wales of 728,000, Scotland 640,000 and Italy 543,000.

The aggregate audience of 3.49 million was up on 2020’s disrupted tournament watched by 3.26 million and close to the 2019 figure of 3.52 million.

All the Six Nations games were broadcast on Virgin Media One this year and will be split between Virgin and RTÉ this year.

RTÉ’s headline rugby audience was the 702,000 who watched the win over the All Blacks in November.

The Irish Men’s soccer team did not make it to the Euro’s but still drew a substantial audience of 679,000 for the November win over Portugal. The European Qualifier Play-Off in 2020 attracted 570,000 by comparison.

In total there were 22 Live sporting events in the Top 50 shows of the year.




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