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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
BBC wins World Cup ratings contest
BBC World Cup team
Some of the BBC World Cup team of presenters
The BBC claimed the lion's share of football fans watching England's World Cup triumph over Denmark on television.

Up to 16.8 million people tuned in on Saturday to watch - making it the most watched game of the World Cup so far, the BBC said.

The corporation said BBC One's live coverage of the match attracted an average of 12.4 million viewers - 70% of people watching television.

Only an average of 3.2m, or 18%, switched over to watch the game on ITV1.

Peaks

This makes it the biggest audience for the BBC on a Saturday lunchtime since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Football League had called on England fans to boycott ITV's screening of the match, in order to put pressure on the network's leading companies, Carlton and Granada, to enter into discussions over the collapse of ITV Digital.

During the match, viewing figures peaked to 13.2m on BBC One and 3.6m on ITV1, the BBC said.

The number of people watching a football match usually peaks during the second half, when more people tune in to find out the score, said a BBC spokeswoman.

The figures include only domestic viewers.

Millions more would have been watching the game in pubs and sports clubs up and down the country.

ITV was not available for comment.


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 MEN'S FINAL PREVIEW
Ronaldo won the World Cup and the Golden Boot
 LINEKER'S VERDICT
Gary Lineker

See also:

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