Almost 20 million people tuned in to watch England’s 2-0 World Cup win over Sweden on Saturday (7 July).
Figures suggest the match attracted an average audience of 15.8m, with a peak of 19.9m watching the action.
Despite taking England to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990, figures were down from the record audience numbers recorded for England’s match against Colombia on Tuesday 3 July which clocked a one-minute peak of 24.4m on ITV.
It’s thought the lower figure is reflective of the number of fans who watched the game in pubs or on public screens along with fellow supporters. Those watching at home dominated the viewing schedule, with the football attracting 80% of the overall TV audience.
Showing between BBC and ITV, BBC host Gary Lineker praised his rival station for attracting record audiences tweeting, “don’t care about who gets the most viewers. Got over that nonsense years ago. Just care about a decent broadcast and another England win.”
Don’t care about who gets the most viewers. Got over that nonsense years ago. Just care about a decent broadcast and another England win. https://t.co/vvsDDEymDB
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 4, 2018
He also clapped back at ITV’s Piers Morgan who tweeted it must be a “difficult time” for Lineker and the BBC with ITV winning the ratings war.
England now face Croatia in their semi-final match on Wednesday 11 July which will air on BBC One.