Did BBC or ITV provide the best Euro 2016 coverage? The stats revealed
This Sunday marks the grand finale of Euro 2016 as Portugal take on hosts France for the right to call themselves Champions of Europe. It’s been a whole month of footballing highs (all British teams involved reached the last 16), unbelievable lows (only Wales got further) and Cristiano Ronaldo tantrums. We’re going to miss it all – even the heartbreak.
As per usual, the shared coverage between BBC and ITV got a lot of attention prior to the tournament. BBC had a lot in its favour – the Beeb’s lineup looked far superior. Gary Lineker sat in the host’s chair, with support in the form of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Rio Ferdinand. ITV on the other hand, had Mark Pigatch, with help from Lee Dixon, Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle. As fans would learn, the less said by Hoddle, the better. That’s without even mentioning the eternal ads vs no ads argument.
But ITV had the bigger games. Scoring three out of four of England’s matches during the tournament, BBC’s only offering for England fans was the 2pm win over Wales. The most-watched games of Euro 2016 in the UK were ITV’s England games. Advantage ITV.
We decided there was only one real way to determine which channel really won the Battle of the Euro 2016 Coverage, however, and that was to look at ratings. So, with the help of overnight ratings supplied by overnights.tv, we examined how many of you tuned into the Beeb versus ITV.
To make the game fairer, we first examined only Euro 2016 Group Stage games airing at 8pm on either BBC One or ITV 1 (games on BBC Four, ITV 4 or BBC Red Button were excluded). We also excluded the two England games, which we do not believe are accurate indicators of the public’s preference for either channel, given the huge public interest in England.
In total, the average number of people who watched a game was 5.85 million. This sample included five BBC games (Germany v Ukraine, Belgium v Italy, Portugal v Iceland, Portugal v Austria and France v Switzerland) and six ITV games (France v Romania, France v Albania, Germany v Poland, Spain vs Turkey, Spain v Croatia and Italy v Republic of Ireland). When we separate the games by channel, we learn that more fans on average watched the BBC coverage (6.22 million) than ITV coverage (5.55 million). However, if the England coverage is included, ITV coverage surges to an average of 6.66 million.
The pattern follows the same pattern for Euro 2016 Group Stage 5pm games. The BBC had seven 5pm games (Wales v Slovakia, Poland v Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland v Sweden, Czech Republic v Croatia, Iceland v Hungary, Northern Ireland v Germany and Hungary vs Portugal), which averaged 4.39 million viewers. ITV only broadcast three 5pm games (Austria v Hungary, Romania v Switzerland and Northern Ireland v Ukraine) and these went out to an average of 3.98 million.
We don’t have enough data to make the same observation about the 2pm games or the last 16 stages and later (yet), but these statistics so far would suggest that the BBC has supplied the superior coverage this Euro 2016 season.
Euro 2016 8pm games, excluding England v Russia and England v Slovakia
|12 June 2016||Germany v Ukraine||BBC||6,300,000||8:00 PM|
|13 June 2016||Belgium v Italy||BBC||6,800,000||8:00 PM|
|14 June 2016||Portugal v Iceland||BBC||6,000,000||8:00 PM|
|18 June 2016||Portugal v Austria||BBC||5,700,000||8:00 PM|
|19 June 2016||France vs Switzerland||BBC||6,300,000||8:00 PM|
|10 June 2016||France v Romania||ITV||6,700,000||8:00 PM|
|15 June 2016||France v Albania||ITV||5,700,000||8:00 PM|
|16 June 2016||Germany v Poland||ITV||5,800,000||8:00 PM|
|17 June 2016||Spain vs Turkey||ITV||4,900,000||8:00 PM|
|21 June 2016||Spain v Croatia||ITV||4,500,000||8:00 PM|
|22 June 2016||Italy v Republic of Ireland||ITV||5,700,000||8:00 PM|
Euro 2016 5pm games
|11 June 2016||Wales v Slovakia||BBC||5,700,000||5:00 PM|
|12 June 2016||Poland v Northern Ireland||BBC||5,500,000||5:00 PM|
|13 June 2016||Republic of Ireland v Sweden||BBC||4,500,000||5:00 PM|
|17 June 2016||Czech Republic v Croatia||BBC||3,500,000||5:00 PM|
|18 June 2016||Iceland v Hungary||BBC||3,800,000||5:00 PM|
|21 June 2016||Northern Ireland v Germany||BBC||3,900,000||5:00 PM|
|22 June 2016||Hungary vs Portugal||BBC||3,800,000||5:00 PM|
|14 June 2016||Austria v Hungary||ITV||2,900,000||5:00 PM|
|15 June 2016||Romania v Switzerland||ITV||2,900,000||5:00 PM|
|16 June 2016||Northern Ireland v Ukraine||ITV||3,300,000||5:00 PM|