COLOGNE, Germany – Saturday's Champions League final match, in which Bayern Munich beat local Bundesliga rivals 2-1 in a 89th minute barn burner, set record ratings on German TV, with 21.61 million viewers, a 62 percent share, tuning in live on public broadcaster ZDF.
Viewership for the all-German final dwarfed the previous record, set last year, when 17 million Germans watched Bayern go down in an penalty shoot out at home in Munich to eventual Champions Chelsea.
The game marked an all-time high for a club soccer match in the territory and pushed the Champions League game into a ratings realm previously only seen in national tournaments such as the European or World Cup. It even beat out last year's European Cup final match between Spain and Italy, which drew 20.31 million viewers in Germany.
European soccer governing body UEFA is still compiling global ratings figures for the final but across Europe, the Bayern-Dortmund match was a hit. 2.8 million viewers, or more than a quarter of the Dutch audience, tuned in to watch Holland star Arjen Robben score the winner for Bayern. In France and the U.K., the match was the runner-up ratings wise, with local entertainment shows topping the charts but France's TF1 still drew 4.55 million viewers (a 19.5 percent share) and 3.5 million Brits (17.7 percent) watched the match on ITV. The soccer may have contributed to a season ratings low for the number one show, The Voice UK, which fell below the 30 percent audience mark, drawing 5.89 million viewers Saturday night.
Globally, the Champions League final was forecast to draw close to 200 million viewers, making it the most-watched live annual sporting event, bigger even than the Super Bowl.