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Thursday, May 27, 1999 Published at 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK


Millions watch United victory

ITV chiefs are celebrating too after Wednesday's viewing figures

Nearly 19 million viewers saw Manchester United's last-minute victory in the European Cup Final against Bayern Munich, according to overnight audience figures.

United's Euro Showdown
One in four of the population saw Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer score in the game's dying minutes to land United a historic treble of the Premiership, the FA Cup and the European Cup.

Figures for the game, screened on ITV, average out at 15.5 million during the whole match, but they rose during the second half to hit 18.8 million at 2130 - just as the two substitutes blasted home the winning goals.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "It was a phenomenal success, by far the highest viewing figures for a sporting event this year.

"Many people obviously tuned in for the result, and they got that tremendous grand finale as well."

Most viewers were young men and adults in high-income brackets, according to figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Bureau.

ITV's Big Match - Live! programme accounted for 64% of all TV viewers, rising to 78% in the north west of England.

However, one other element may have helped boost ITV's ratings at 2130 - BBC One showed a five-minute Party Election Broadcast at the same time, temporarily losing it around a third of its audience.

The figures do not match the biggest-ever British audience for a football match - 23 million tuned in to watch England go out of the 1998 World Cup against Argentina, also on ITV.

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