Digital viewership for the 2019 U21 EURO in Italy and San Marino reached new levels across Europe.
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With players of the standard of Spain's Dani Ceballos, Moise Kean of Italy and Serbia's Luka Jović – newly signed by Real Madrid – the calibre of this summer's Under-21 EURO was as strong as ever. This was reflected by the number of fans tuning in to watch the action, with strong digital audiences from group stage to final.
In Germany, the final on ARD attracted a record audience for a U21 EURO match: the 9.2 million who turned on for Spain's eventual 2-1 win over the German team represented a third of the viewing market and was the highest sports audience of last weekend.
Italy, staging its biggest football tournament since the 1990 FIFA World Cup, sold over 250,000 tickets for the competition. Meanwhile, those fans who could not get to the games watched the action unfold in their millions at home.
There were strong live audiences throughout, with viewing figures exceeding five million and a market share of at least 25% for each of the hosts' group fixtures. Even with Italy exiting the tournament after the group stage, interest remained high with a cumulative audience of 16.1 million catching the games not involving Italy on Rai 2 and Rai Sport.
In Spain, the final gained the fourth-biggest sports audience of the year, behind only the Copa del Rey decider and the semi-finals of the same competition between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Broadcast on Cuatro, the final was seen by 35.8% of the market, comprising 4.7 million viewers. It was the highest audience for the tournament in Spain since at least the 2002 edition.
Interest in Romania, whose national side were competing in the tournament for the first time since 1998, was consistently strong. Their final group stage match against France was watched by 35% of the total domestic audience, while the exciting semi-final defeat by Germany attracted a 40% market share.
"Records are there to be broken and we are delighted that interest was so high, with some really strong audience figures from countries across the continent," said UEFA's director of marketing, Guy-Laurent Epstein.
"The U21 EURO finals feature some of Europe's brightest talents and the viewing figures show there is a real appetite among the fans to watch top-class UEFA national-team football. This, of course, brings extra value for our broadcast partners and sponsors."
The next edition of the U21 EURO takes place in Hungary and Slovenia in 2021, and will consist of 16 teams rather than 12.