Wales beat England in FIFA World Cup (in viewing figures that is)

The ITV sports team

The BBC has revealed that England’s World Cup 2022 opener against Iran on Monday 21 November was streamed a record eight million times on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online, making it the largest live streamed event on the BBC over a 24 hour period. The memorable 6-2 victory for the Three Lions also pulled in a peak TV audience of 8.1 million and over 70% of the share of available viewers.

That’s pretty good going – but not quite as good as the figures for Wales vs USA, which was covered by BBC rival ITV. That fixture, which took place later on the same day, peaked with 13m viewers across TV and streaming. The match from kick off to final whistle was seen by an average of nearly 10m viewers across TV & streaming.

To be fair to the BBC and England, the Wales game took place in the evening, whereas England’s opening fixture was during the day against lower level opposition. Furthermore, BBC iPlayer crashed at the start of the England game, which would have limited the number of fans surreptitiously watching the game while at work.

The BBC sports team.

Separately, UK media regulator Ofcom has surveyed more than 2,000 people about how or whether they intended to watch matches from the controversy-plagued tournament.

Some 44% of those surveyed said they’d be watching some, or all, of the matches. However, a slightly higher proportion (46%) said they wouldn’t be following the tournament at all. Eight per cent said they didn’t know if they would be watching or listening.

Some 78% said they plan to follow whole games, and 69% said they’d be doing so on TV, with almost half of the overall sample sayiing they will only watch the tournament on TV and no other device.

However, only 51% of people aged 18 to 24 said they’d watch whole games live on TV, compared to 76% of respondents aged 55 or older.

Twice as many younger respondents (18 to 24) as older respondents (55+) said they’ll keep up via updates on social media – 28% versus 14%. And almost three times as many younger people said they would be watching whole matches in public spaces such as pubs and big screens – 38%, compared to just 13% of those aged 55+.

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