Spain and Italy will decide the UEFA Euro 2012 championship on Sunday in a rematch of their 1-1 Group C draw.
That June 10 match garnered 2.11 million viewers, making it bigger from a Nielsen perspective than any of the Euro 2008 matches -- other than the final, when Spain topped Germany before 3.76 million on ABC.
That's the audience mark ESPN is shooting for at 2:30 p.m. (ET) from Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday, when it airs the Azzuri, led by the goal-scoring prowess of Mario Balotelli, whose pair eliminated Germany in the semifinals, against Spain's attempt to become the first European side to capture three consecutive major championship -- La Furia Roja is looking to back up the 2008 Euro and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Buoyed by the Group C match, which generated the top audience of the tourney,1.95 million for the first semifinal on June 27, when Spain took out Iberian rival Portugal in penalties and 1.85 million for Italy's 2-1 win over Germany in the other semi, ESPN's live English-language presentation averaged 932,000 households and 1.2 million viewers -- up 60% and 61%, respectively, from the corresponding 30 matches in 2008 (582,000 households and 745,000 viewers), according to Nielsen data.
ESPN presentation of the semifinal matches on June 27 and June 28 averaged 1.907 million viewers, a 46% jump from the 1.31 million delivered by their 2008 counterparts. The weekday afternoon telecasts delivered an average of 1.46 million households, 46% more that 995,000 four years ago.
The Euro semifinals also delivered very strong ratings for Spanish-language service ESPN Deportes, which averaged a 7.0 Hispanic household coverage mark, up 79% compared to 2008. It scored 380,000 Hispanic households and 586,000 viewers -- gains of 176% and 250%, respectively. The dramatic match between Spain and Portugal, the defending champions won 4-2 in penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes, averaged a 7.6 Hispanic household coverage rating with 414,000 Hispanic households and 650,000 viewers, making it the third- highest-rated and most-watched telecast on ESPN Deportes thus far this year. Italy-Germany delivered a 6.3 Hispanic household rating with 340,000 Hispanic households and 510,000 viewers.
Digitally, ESPNFC.com and ESPNsoccernet.com globally averaged 1 million daily visitors, 3.6 million page views per day and 12.2 million minutes per day with the semifinals, according to Adobe/Omniture. Compared to ESPNsoccernet.com during the semifinals for Euro 2008, the site grew 24%, 24% and 126% respectively. All told, Euro 2012 coverage on ESPNFC.com, ESPNsoccernet.com and ESPNdeportes.com generated 7.9 million total page views during the two days of semifinals play, 29 more than Euro 2008.
Mobile coverage for the two days across ESPNFC, ESPNsoccernet and ESPNdeportes mobile Web sites as well as the ESPNsoccernet app for iPhone and Android logged an average of 1.8 million page views per day, an 891% surge from Euro 2008.
The semifinals across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox on ESPN3 and WatchESPN logged an average minute audience of 222,000 and an average of 575,700 unique viewers per match. Additionally, fans consumed 74.9 million live minutes to both English and Spanish language feeds across platforms, up 798% compared to the Euro 2008 semis on computers.
The semifinals logged the two most-watched matches of the tournament thus far on ESPN3 and WatchESPN. Portugal-Spain came out on top, with 598,000 unique viewers, 43 million live minutes and an average minute audience of 231,000. Germany-Italy followed with 553,000 unique viewers, 32 million live minutes and an average minute audience of 212,700.
Through the semifinals of Euro 2012, the tournament on computers has logged a total of 2.6 million unique viewers. Additionally, it has generated 419.7 million live minutes across platforms, 804% greater than how Euro 2008 played on computers.
UEFA EURO 2012 Final on ESPN Networks
Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, July 1 1 p.m. Fuera de Juego: Euro Previa
José Ramón Fernández and Fernando Palomo, Andres Agulla, Mario Kempes and Tato Noriega ESPN Deportes
2 p.m. UEFA Euro Report
Bob Ley, Michael Ballack, Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman ESPN Deportes
2:30 p.m. Euro 2012 Final - Spain vs. Italy
Ian Darke and Steve McManaman
Jorge Ramos, Hernan Pereyra and Rafa Puente
Radio - JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth ESPN / ESPN3 / ESPN Deportes / ESPN Radio / ESPN Deportes Radio
5-6 p.m. Fuera de Juego: EURO 2012
Fernández and Fernando, Agulla, Kempes and Noriega ESPN Deportes
Euro 2012 Tonight
Ley, Ballack, Lalas and Twellman ESPN2