Euro 2024 Scoring With TV Audiences, Not Hurting Box Office

By Chanak Maduranga

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Euro 2024 Scoring With TV Audiences, Not Hurting Box Office
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The European soccer championships, UEFA Euro 2024, is scoring big with TV viewers, with ratings for the opening round of matches near record highs across the continent. So far, however, that isn’t hurting the European box office, which has gotten a summer boost from Inside Out 2.

The Euros are a guaranteed ratings draw for national broadcasters, who can expect their biggest audiences of the year during the four-week tournament, which kicked off June 14 and runs through July 14.

Host nation Germany is the current ratings champ, and has seen viewership figures build match to match over the first round. More than 22 million German viewers caught their team’s opening night 5-1 thrashing of Scotland on public broadcaster ZDF. 23.9 million watched Germany’s 2-0 victory over Hungary on June 19 on sister network ARD and more than 25.5 million tuned in to ARD for their final first-round match on June 23, a tense 1-all draw with Switzerland.

Germany’s match against Switzerland drew the largest national TV audience, with more than 25.5 million watching on German public broadcaster ARD.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In the U.K., viewership, much like the England squad, may have peaked early. England’s opening Euro 2024 game against Serbia on June 16 was watched on BBC One by a peak audience of 15 million people – more than half of the nation’s television viewers on the evening. The match was also streamed 3.5 million times on BBC iPlayer. BBC’s coverage of England’s 1-1 draw with Denmark on June 20 topped out at 13.1 million, but some 5.6 million watched online, likely due to the earlier kick-off time.

Commercial network ITV, which is sharing Euro 2024 rights with the BBC, drew an impressive 10.4 million for the opening night match — double the 5.2 million who watched the opening game of Euro 2020 on the BBC and the highest peak audience in the U.K. for any opening to a major soccer tournament in a decade. The last England game of the first round, a tepid 0-0 draw with Slovenia on June 25, pulled in 15.4 million viewers on commercial outlet ITV and its on-demand platform ITVX.

French TV ratings have stayed consistent over the first two weeks of the tournament, with each match by Les Blues scoring around 10 million viewers on commercial network TF1. France’s 1-0 victory over Austria on June 17 drew the biggest crowd, 11.25 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast in France so far this year.

It’s been a similar story in Italy, with public channel Rai drawing 10 million plus for every game involving the national side; and in Spain, where dazzling performances on the pitch have been matched by ratings success. 8.5 million viewers, a 56.4 percent audience share, watched Spain topple Italy 1-0 on June 20 on local network La 1, figures on par, or slightly above, those seen in the group stages of Euro 2020.

Inside Out 2

Disney/Pixar

But while soccer might be all over the TV, Euro 2024 hasn’t appeared to have dented the box office. Inside Out 2, the Disney/Pixar sequel to the 2015 animated hit, soared to the top of the charts across Europe, apparently unfazed by the bouncing balls on the small screen. Over its first two weeks, Inside Out 2 has grossed more than $29 million in the U.K., some $18 million in Germany and Italy and north of $13 million in France and Spain, providing a welcome boost to a theatrical market that has been sluggish so far this year.

The family film proved effective counter-programming for sports-challenged viewers. More male-skewing, adult drama had a tougher time competing with the soccer. Jeff Nichols’ motorcycle period drama The Bikeriders grossed just $1.4 million in the U.K. on its June 21 opening weekend. The film’s Italian release earned just $325,000 in its first weekend frame. Bad Boys: Ride or Die, didn’t do much better, earning just over $500,000 in Italy on its second weekend, for a $1.7 million total take. The fourth entry in the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence comedy action franchise, however, has otherwise done well, having successfully avoided going head-to-head with the soccer by releasing in early June across most of Europe.

An upcoming release that could get knocked offside by the European Championships is Kevin Costner’s Horizon. Most European distributors, including those in the U.K., Italy and Spain, are releasing the Western epic this weekend, tied to Warner Bros.’ U.S. bow. With second-round Euro 2024 matches on in primetime — Italy on Saturday, England and Spain on Sunday — Costner could be in for a rough ride at the box office. In Germany, local distributor Tobis has chosen the path of least resistance and is going out with Horizon in late August, long after the final whistle of Euro 2024.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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